Vera Tobin
research on language,
literature, and cognition

Research interests

This page isn't entirely up-to-date: sorry! More recent information to appear soon.

Work in progress

Here's a look at some recent research that I'm currently in the process of writing up for publication.

Dissertation research

2008. Literary Joint Attention: Social Cognition and the Puzzles of Modernism.

Abstract and full-text download available online through ScientificCommons and the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland.

Publications and Selected Presentations

In press. "Attention, Blending, and Suspense in Classic and Experimental Film." With Todd Oakley. Blending and the Study of Narrative. Eds. Ralf Schneider and Marcus Hartner. Berlin: de Gruyter

In press. "Joint Attention and Modernist Literary Style." English Text Construction

In review at Cambridge University Press. "Irony as a Viewpoint Phenomenon." With Michael Israel.

2010. "Grammatical and Rhetorical Consequences of Entrenchment in Conceptual Blending." Meaning, Form, and Body. Eds. Fey Parrill, Vera Tobin, and Mark Turner. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

2009. "Cognitive Bias and the Poetics of Surprise." Language and Literature 18.2

2006. "Ways of Reading Sherlock Holmes." Language and Literature 16.1 (Winner of the 2006 Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) Prize.)

2005. "On Simile." With Michael Israel and Jennifer Riddle Harding. Language, Culture and Mind. Ed. Suzanne Kemmer and Michel Achard. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.


2010. Meaning, Form, and Body. Co-editor, with Mark Turner and Fey Parrill.


"Rhetorical, Conceptual, and Grammatical Entrenchment with Expressions of Change." Ninth Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, Case Western Reserve University, October, 2008.

"When the 'Curse of Knowledge' is a Blessing: Egocentric Biases and the Organization of Literary Discourse." Tenth Conference of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association, Krakow, Poland, July, 2007.

"Joint Attention in Reading Communities." Eighth Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, UC San Diego, November, 2006.

"'Observation Has Become With Me a Species of Necessity': Represented Scenes of Joint Attention in Modernist Fiction." Conference on Language, Culture, and Mind, Paris, France, July, 2006.

"Blending and Irony." With Michael Israel. Literature and Cognition Conference. University of Connecticut, April, 2006.

"Bias and the Joint Activities of Narration: Detective Fiction, Clue-Puzzles, and Illusory Intentions." Ninth International Pragmatics Conference of the International Pragmatics Association, Riva del Garda, Italy, July, 2005.

"Puzzles of Joint Attention in Classic Detective Fiction and Beyond." Seventh Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, University of Alberta, October, 2004.

"Framing the Collecting Subject in Late Sixteenth Century Verse Collections." Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, October, 2003.

"The Joint Activities of Narration: Common Ground and Narrative Effects in Classic Children's Literature and Elsewhere." Eighth Conference of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association, Logroño, Spain, July, 2003.

"Texts That Pretend to be Talk: Frame-Shifting and Frame-Blending Across Frames of Utterance in Mystery Science Theater 3000." Seventh Conference of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association, UC Santa Barbara, July, 2001.

"Context and the Character of Buck Mulligan." Miami Joyce Conference, University of Florida, February, 2000.