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Irakli Khvedelidze

Researcher at Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature (Department of Literary Theory and Comparative Studies), under Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Irakli Khvedelidze has written her PhD thesis on the narratological basis of the autobiographical genre. His papers focusing on the autobiographical genre are:
• Whole Mind Concept as a Methodological Basis for the Research of Autobiographical Discourse;
• Possible Worlds Theory as a Methodological Basis for the Research of Autobiographical Discourse: The Story of My Life by Akaki Tsereteli;
• Standing on the Third Shore: Grigol Robakidze’s Biography in Emigration;
• The Basics of Formation of Consciousness of the Experiencing Autobiographer: Emotion and Cognition (Based on “My Adventures” by Akaki Tsereteli).
International Forums:
• Die transkulturellen Repräsentationen der Frau in der Literatur und Philosophie unter besonderer Berücksichtigung georgischer und österreichischer Diskurse, Practice of Book-based Subjectivity in the Works of Georgian Romantic Writer Mariam JambakurOrbeliani
• Thirty Years Since The Fall of Communism,  The Narrative Strategies of the Representation of Consciousness in Modern Georgian Novel: Post-Soviet Experience: Based on “Obole “by Aka Morchiladze (Galati, Romania). He has implemented a grants project financed by Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation: “Georgian Autobiography”.
From October 15, 2019 he will work for a year as an invited scholar at Jena University (Germany) studying the narrative patterns of description of consciousness in the contemporary Georgian novel.

Autobiographical Memory and Narrative Identity: The Cognitive Approach

Contemporary narratology is formed as a sub-discipline of cognitive sciences (Herman, David. 2013. Storytelling and the Sciences of The Mind; Ryan, Marie-Laure.2010. Narratology and Cognitive Science: A Problematic Relation. Stule. 44, no 4, 469-95). As the formation of human identity implies the turning of biographical data into a narrative unity, the methodology of research of identity should envisage the narratological research which is based on the knowledge provided by cognitive sciences in the study of consciousness of characters (Palmer, Alan. 2004. Fictional Minds; Zunshine, Lisa. 2006. Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel.; Hogan, Patrick Colm. 2003. The Mind and Its Stories: Narrative Universals and Human Emotion.)
To be more precise, what is the role of cognitive narratology in the research of identity issues? Several important aspects must be discussed in this regard:
a) Above all, the study of formation and functioning of identity should be based on the functional approach: identity serves human evolutionary needs. It does not function separately; it forms part of human consciousness which helps survival and development (Damasio, Antonio. 2000. The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness).
b) When studying the consciousness of characters, narratologists now begin to focus on mental processes which have not been studied before. With regard to identity, special mention should be made of emotion. A famous neuroscientist Antonio Damasio considers that emotion monitors human consciousness. Based on the pattern of identity, emotion informs a person whether the perceived reality is favourable or dangerous. These signals are necessary for the optimization of behavior. Based on the situation, either homeostatic or homeodynamic needs are activated. It should be mentioned that evaluative labels are attached to the mental images preserved in the human memory based on the identity model;
c) Formation and renewal of identity are certain processes. Hence, human consciousness uses the phenomenon of remembering which is specific and adjusted to current needs (Schacter, Daniel. 1996 Searching for memory: The brain, the mind, and the past). For the analysis of this aspect, ample knowledge has been accumulated in the narratological research (Nalbantian, Suzanne. Memory in Literature. From Rousseau to Neuroscience; Neumann, Birgit.2005. Erinnerung – Identität – Narration: Gattungstypologie und Funktionen kanadischer Fiction of Memory.;
Birke, Dorothee. 2008. Memory’s Fragile Power: Crises of Memory, Identity and Narrative in Contemporary British Novels)
d) In order to work out identity research methodology, special importance should be attached to the research of cognitive narratology aimed at the study of autobiographical narration (Eakin. Paul J. 2008. Living Autobiographically. How We Create Identity in Narrative, Löschnigg, Martin. 2006. Die englische fictionale Autobiographie: Erzähltheoretische Grundlagen und historische
Prägnanz formen von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts). Autobiographic self and identity are synonymous concepts from the perspective of cognitive neurosciences. Therefore, the study of autobiographical narrative will yield fundamental material for the study of identity issues. The given paper analyses factual autobiographies created by Georgian writers in the Soviet period (until now, a huge corpus of autobiographical texts reflecting Soviet experience has not been studied). These texts reveal both the formation of individual experience of the experiencing autobiographer and the formation of social competence. The paper identifies the textual data that are relevant for the research of identity issues in the narrative texts and
shows how these data can be interpreted from the perspective of cognitive narratology.
Key words: identity, autobiographical ego, cognitive narratology, consciousness.