Literary Research & Criticism

Out of Mind: Mode, Mediation, and Cognition in Twenty-First-Century Narrative (Cognitive Approaches to Culture) [forthcoming October 25, 2021, from The Ohio State University Press]

Front cover

What is the relationship between aesthetic presentation of thought and scientific conceptions of cognition? Torsa Ghosal’s Out of Mind: Mode, Mediation, and Cognition in Twenty-First-Century Narrative answers this question by offering incisive commentary on a range of contemporary fictions that combine language, maps, photographs, and other images to portray thought. Situating literature within groundbreaking debates on memory, perception, abstraction, and computation, Ghosal shows how stories not only reflect historical beliefs about how minds work but also participate in their reappraisal. 

Out of Mind makes a compelling case for understanding narrative forms and cognitive-scientific frameworks as co-emergent and cross-pollinating. To this end, Ghosal harnesses narrative theory, multimodality studies, cognitive sciences, and disability studies to track competing perspectives on remembering, reading, and sense of place and self. Through new readings of the works of Kamila Shamsie, Aleksandar Hemon, Mark Haddon, Lance Olsen, Steve Tomasula, Jonathan Safran Foer, and others, Out of Mind generates unique insights into literary imagination’s influence on how we think and perceive amid twenty-first-century social, technological, and environmental changes.

“Torsa Ghosal’s Out of Mind urges us to be more open-minded (pun intended) and embrace explanatory pluralism for how minds work.”—Sue Kim, author of On Anger: Race, Cognition, Narrative

“As cognitive literary studies moves more adeptly across narrative media, Torsa Ghosal’s Out of Mind admirably takes media-conscious, multimodal fictions into the fold, exploring the ways in which narrative fiction culturally and historically encodes what we think we are doing when we perceive, map, remember, and forget our own lived experiences.” —David Ciccoricco, author of Reading Network Fiction


Select Articles and Essays

[Published articles can be read at]

Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • “Shapes of Cognition in Typographical Fictions” in Studies in the Novel 51.2 (Summer 2019)
  • “At Hand—Handwriting as a Device for Spatial Orientation in J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S.” in Poetics Today 40.2 (Summer 2019), Special issue on Multimodal Media.
  • “Books with Bodies: Narrative Progression in Books with Bodies Illustrated with Chris Ware’s Building Stories” in Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies (Spring 2015)
  • “Strikethrough Calcutta: Poetics and Politics of Interruption in Satyajit Ray’s and Mrinal Sen’s Calcutta Trilogies” in South Asian Review (Spring 2015)
  • Unprojections: Worlds under Erasure in Contemporary Hollywood Films” in Media-N: Journal of the New Media Caucus (Spring 2015).
  • “A World of Sin,” co-authored with Christopher Gonzalez and Frederick Luis Aldama, in Post Script 33.3 (Summer 2014)
latinos and narrative media

Book Chapters

Discussion and Dictionary Entries

Book Reviews

  • Review of Malik Sajad’s Munnu: a boy from Kashmir (comics), in South Asian Popular Culture (Autumn 2016)