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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

Postgraduate Diary: Dr. Depressed

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I am not sure why they didn't ask me, but The Guardian is going to be running a series of monthly columns by Patrick Tomlin, who is about to start a doctorate in political theory at Oxford. Having dropped out of "gainful employment," Tomlin notes that two-thirds of students will not complete their PhD, and that "doctoral depression" is now a recognised problem, particularly in Arts subjects:
What places you at risk of both of these problems is isolation and lack of direction. In scientific subjects, where you're genetically modifying fish to play poker, or whatever goes on in those labs, you work in teams. You have gossip, interaction and a sense of shared responsibility. In subjects like mine, where the emphasis is on reading and thinking about stuff (that wasn't quite what I put in my funding application), you are afforded no such perks. It's just you, a laptop and some books.
This experience of loneliness I well recognise. Which is why blogs like this are so useful as a space in which to air my frustrations and experiences. It's just a shame that, unlike Tomlin, I won't be getting paid in the process.

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