Consciousness and the Novel: Connected Essays (Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature)
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Human consciousness, long the province of literature, has lately come in for a remapping--even rediscovery--by the natural sciences, driven by developments in Artificial Intelligence, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology. As the richest record we have of human consciousness, literature, David Lodge suggests, may offer a kind of understanding that is complementary, not opposed, to scientific knowledge. Writing with characteristic wit and brio, and employing the insight and acumen of a skilled novelist and critic, Lodge here explores the representation of human consciousness in fiction (mainly English and American) in light of recent investigations in the sciences.
How does the novel represent consciousness? And how has this changed over time? In a series of interconnected essays, Lodge pursues these questions down various paths: How does the novel's method compare with that of other creative media such as film? How does the consciousness (and unconscious) of the creative writer do its work? And how can criticism infer the nature of this process through formal analysis? In essays on Charles Dickens, E. M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley and Martin Amis, Henry James, John Updike, and Philip Roth, and in reflections on his own practice as a novelist, Lodge is able to bring to light--and to engaging life--the technical, intellectual, and sometimes simply mysterious working of the creative mind.
boorish, bigoted, sexist, and overrated. All the more reason to read them in tandem with the son’s memoir, in which exasperation and outrage are tempered by affection and intimate memories. For example, one of the most troubling of Kingsley’s character traits in later life was an obsession with Jews and their prominence in public and artistic life. “What’s it like being mildly anti-Semitic?” Martin asked him one day. “It’s all right,” Kingsley answered, in typical sparring mode. But of course it
seems quite Joycean (“I want to be the . . . pee-tea coach at a girls’ school” [20 June 1950])—perhaps surprisingly in view of Amis’s anti-modernist prejudices; but in fact he always respected Joyce’s virtuosity, and in any case the verbal fooling predated his acquaintance with the Irish master’s more experimental work. If there was a literary source, it was Frank Richards’s Billy Bunter stories. The Amis “vernacular style,” then, was by no means a reversion to the stylized simplicity of
to know that Amini was commissioned to write the screenplay after the film had been in development for several years, beginning with a script by the biographer and critic Claire Tomalin, which was much more faithful to the original novel. Amini (who had previously scripted Jude, a feature film adaptation of Hardy’s Jude the Obscure), describes his first impression of James’s novel as follows: . . . an extraordinary book, but very long, very dense, and completely uncinematic. The story telling
Toni Morrison may be surprised and not altogether enchanted to read here that her nomination was withdrawn because the proposer forgot she was already a member. Izzy springs a surprise motion to wind up the organization and distribute its assets among the members, which is passed by a narrow majority. Since the Forty occupies a prime mid-Manhattan site, quickly snapped up by a buyer, the spoils are considerable, but are immediately contested by the family legatees of the founder. It seems that
cultural initiation has to precede and legitimise the sexual, as Kepesh cynically notes. She won’t sleep with him until he has shown her his Velázquez reproductions and let her hold his precious Kafka manuscript and taken her to the theatre and played classical music to her. All this talk! I show her Kafka, Velázquez . . . why does one do this? Well, you have to do something. These are the veils of the dance. Don’t confuse it with seduction. This is not seduction. What you’re disguising is the