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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

Popular Poetry

Monday, January 30, 2006

Daisy Goodwin was on Radio 4 this morning, complaining that poetry would "soon be as popular as morris dancing". Based on the statistics of book sales, she may be right. But perhaps more so than novels and drama, poetry outlasts its moment, and whilst modern poetry may be at the margins of publishing today, one can't say the same about the poetry of the Romantics (Peter Ackroyd's documentary, though dreadfully over-special-effected, nevertheless still shows these poets still "alive" in the modern age), or the War poets (I lost count of how many times the broadsheets embedded some quote when the war on Iraq was beginning) or, of course, Shakespeare.

Anyway, to prove her point that modern poetry has an unprecedentedly narrow audience, Goodwin set a quiz. I'm ashamed to say that, though a couple of the quotations rang distant bells in the hazy mist of my skull, I could only answer one question, identifying the reader as Simon Armitage (with his Yorkshire accent, it was a 50-50 toss between him and Tony Harrison). I need to read more - perhaps next weekend, dressed oddly, I'll do so over a pint of cider in my nearest country pub.

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Posted by Alistair at 4:42 pm


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