Abstract

In this essay, I focus on the portrayal of physical brains in contemporary fiction, with a particular focus on three novels: Siri Hustvedt’s The Sorrows of an American, Ian McEwan’s Saturday, and John Wray’s Lowboy. These novels represent a common literary phenomenon: the dramatization of a fantasy whereby touching brains may reveal the immaterial self. Building on William A. Cohen’s concept of material interiority, I argue that the literary portrayal of this fantasy challenges traditional understandings of interiority because they represent mental experience as a product of dynamic relationships among brain, body, social relations, and environment.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-658X
Print ISSN
0026-7724
Pages
pp. 335-358
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-25
Open Access
No
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