Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars how to think about the way you write about anything., 10 Dec 2011
This review is from: Consciousness and the Novel (Paperback)
The book's title is the main essay within this collection. Inside this essay's 91 pages Lodge examines how novelists/storytellers do what they do in relation to what is understood as the idea/concept/theory of human consciousness. For anyone fascinated (or confused) by the many narrative modes available to writers, and how this enquiry leads to a point where literature, philosophy and neurological studies intersect, this book pinpoints some of the most intriguing aspects and issues of how the human mind 'constructs' reality both on and off the page. Lodge approaches the subject from his own experience as a novelist, critic and academic. It is a very readable essay and flows through a range of insights and examples in a manner which is easy to absorb, compared, say, to other literary theory tracts!

The book's main area of interest seems to circle around the debate of 'what it is to be human' and how do humans interpret that much taken for granted thing called 'reality'? So, for instance, there is mention of the soul/body debate where some scientists/thinkers claim that there is no such thing as a metaphysical soul, such a thing being merely a 'trick' of the reflexive human brain - yet within literature there still exists a continuing need to advance the idea of the human species as something other than the sum of its parts. This leads into an enquiry about whether or not the novel has always been a place where the nature of human consciousness has been explored and developed, that the human brain is a storytelling machine, and through this method reality is constructed!

Further on, Lodge explores methods of point-of-view across the history of the novel, especially the faultline beginning with Modernism where the emphasis of internalisation as opposed to remaining on the surface parallels the philosophical debate about how much can a person/narrator know about anyone or anything.

As someone who dabbles in the dark art of creativity (as opposed to the 'bright' art of commerce and business) I found this book to be a perfect encapsulation of how to think about the way you write about anything, or, in fact, go about any creative process that demands a more informed perspective.
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