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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


Thursday, July 20, 2006

In my essay "Online Text Databases and the Literary Canon," I noted that "the popular proclamation that the texts found on the Internet (either within academic databases or in informal online publications) democratically represent, or are equally accessible to, the body of global authors and readers, is a fallacy. The "democracy" of the web and the "accessibility" of the Internet are rhetorical phrases commonly proclaimed by the media and political institutions to describe the globalisation of information; however, these claims, when used in a literal sense, are not endorsed statistically: fewer people worldwide can access the internet, with its online books, than have access to paper media through public libraries."

With a similar demythologising intent, though with greater import, the campaign run by and is designed to highlight the fact that governments around the world, often in collusion with IT companies, are repressing online content, censoring information, seizing equipment and arresting people who use the internet to challenge official politics. As part of the campaign the group is offering web publishers in free countries the opportunity to undermine censorship by publishing previously censored material on their own sites. With a brilliant irony, through this system the more content is repressed, the more distributed it might become. I am smugly happy that from today, in the sidebar to the right of this blog, the information some one doesn't want people to read is now displayed to the 10 000 or so visitors who access this site each year.

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Posted by Alistair at 4:50 pm


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