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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

Teachers, Teachers Everywhere

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Just had an interesting discussion about Graham Swift's novel Waterland, the central character of which is a history teacher. As the talk went on, it struck me that there are quite a few works of the last twenty years which have featured characters in educational environments. Jotting down a list, I ended up with Miss Jean Brodie (of Muriel Spark's novel), the university lecturers in the arts who crop up in the fiction of David Lodge, and the science lecturers of Ian McEwan's works, the English lecturer of J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, and Alan Bennett's new play The History Boys. Is this an unusually dominant trope of postwar fiction? Since many postmodern novels are marked by self-reflexivity on the role of narrative in the contemporary environment, does having a teacher as a central character provide a lens for this? Is it also part of the more general expression of scepticism about the reliability of the "professional," the doctor, the lawyer, the politician? Other answers on a large postcard, please.


Posted by Alistair at 2:50 pm


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