Mind-Wandering and Attention in Literature


  • Karin Kukkonen
  • Sibylle Baumbach


Following a short review of studies of attention, attention economies, and mindwandering with regard to narratives, this paper aims to establish attention and mindwandering as key concepts for the study of literary narratives. Based on an analysis of representations and enactments of both phenomena in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, we will outline the different levels of mind-wandering and attention in literary texts as well as the different levels on which narratives ‘make minds move.’ Offering a methodological toolkit for investigating aspects of mind-wandering and attention in literary narratives, including key attractors and distractors, this paper sets the frame for the contributions published in this special issue and, more generally, aims to offer the foundation for future studies in this field.