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The Pequod
Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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New Essay

Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more

Penguin Philosophy

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Penguin Books have created a new series of slim titles featuring thinkers and revolutionaries, from Seneca to Orwell, Gibbon to Marx. This can only be a positive development, helping to broaden the cultural experience of those non-academics who would otherwise run shy - perhaps understandably, given the way philosophy, like literary criticism, is increasingly sealed in a complex and exclusive vocabulary - from anything hallmarked with philosophy. The danger, of course, as with the Big Read, is that bite-size chunks of text (one commentator likened the books to smarties) become perceived as the authoritative end, rather than the beginning, of exploration and reading. Also, their focus is unashamedly on Western and White authors, a shame given that here was an opportunity here to correct the dangerously popular and unbalanced perception, in the contemporary age, that the Muslim world has contributed little to the sum of global knowledge. Nevertheless, it is to be hoped that, if the series takes off and proves popular (one million copies in the first year is the publisher's target), subsequent additions could expand and fill the gaps.


Posted by Alistair at 2:35 pm


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