At Saint Anne's Psychiatric Clinic a patient cried out in bed: "I'm a prince! Arrest the Grand Duke!". Someone went up to him and whispered in his ear: "Blow your nose!" and he blew his nose. He was asked: "What's your occupation?". He answered quietly: "Shoemaker," and started shouting again.Only I'm not sure of whom it reminds me.
Gottschall's ubiquity - I heard him speaking on BBC Radio 3 recently - is demoralising because there are more interesting thinkers writing about literature. For instance, Stephen Mulhall in The Wounded Animal. Yet this example reveals the problem. Unlike the books by Dutton, Boyd and Gottschall reviewed here, it doesn't have the eye for the main chance in a thought-culture struggling with the remove of literature. Deresiewicz says that until "the literary academy is willing to stand up in public and defend that mission without apology, it will never find its way out of the maze." Except, if it is writing we're talking about - writing in itself - it is the maze that fascinates.