Category Archives: Literature and the Meaning of Life (MA)

Linked to MA course

Metaphorical Thinking

WindowSome people are literal minded – they think in black and white whereas others colour their worlds with metaphor. A new paper published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reports on the first standardised measure of this difference, and it shows that having a proclivity for metaphors has real consequences, affecting how people respond to the world around them and even how they interact with others.

A summary of the paper in non-technical language can be found in The BPS Digest (from which this quote is taken).


Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant

Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day is a popular novel amongst students. His latest work, just published, is set in a very different world and Ishiguro has joined the debate on the worth of fantasy fiction:

BBC – Culture – Book review: Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, book review: This isle is full of monsters – Reviews – Books – The Independent.

Nineteen Eighty Four: Is it any good?

Nineteen Eighty-four: bad good or good bad fiction?

You don’t need to be Will Self to find fault with Orwell’s novel. But are its huge faults also essential to its virtues?

Article from The Guardian

Category:George Orwell Category:Nineteen Eight...
Category:George Orwell Category:Nineteen Eighty Four (Original text : George Orwell, 1984. This self-made image is based on a picture that appears in an old acreditation for the BNUJ.) Picture of George Orwell taken from File:GeoreOrwell.jpg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Review of Ubik, by Philip K. Dick

Photoshoot of missing android head of Philip K...
Photoshoot of missing android head of Philip K Dick and Woman in metro. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philip K Dick’s funny and peculiar near-futurology

Both eerie and amusing, Ubik’s vision of 1992 from 1966
mixes unsettling prescience with some terrific comedy.



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Lincoln Prison

© Copyright Len Williams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Lincoln Prison Chapel © Copyright Len Williams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The Victorian prison at Lincoln has a chapel arranged in a semi-circle in such a way that the preacher (whose pulpit is high up on the flat wall and whose perspective is shown in the photo) can see all the prisoners simultaneously while they can see nothing else but him (locked doors prevent their seeing those seated beside them, while the different levels of the tiers of seats prevents them from seeing even the heads of the prisoners in the rows in front). The surveillance was both physical and spiritual, internal and external.

I used give a lecture there once a year on Nineteen Eighty-Four and, predictably, Michel Foucault, sometimes to the confusion of accidental tourists who arrived to find live student prisoners alongside the exhibition dummies and a deranged clergyman addressing them from the wall opposite.

English: Chapel/church at Lincoln Castle prison
English: Chapel/church at Lincoln Castle prison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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