Jason Tougaw – “Touching Brains”

Jason Tougaw, participant in the faculty panel on Thursday, 2/28, has an interesting and relevant post-conference blog post – “Touching Brains”

I’ve noticed a recurrent phenomenon in contemporary literature: scenes in which brains (or other body parts) are  touched or explored for signs of immaterial elements of self: mind, consciousness, affect, emotion, imagination, desire–what the philosophers calls “qualia”–the subjective, ineffable qualities that characterize our perceptual responses to the world around us. This happens in a variety of texts and genres, including (but by no means limited to) what some are calling “neuronovels” and what I’ve been calling “brain memoirs.” From David B's graphic autobiography Epileptic (Pantheon 2005).

Read more on his blog californica: portrait of the artist as an organism

Further on, Jason Tougaw asks for your response: “Now, I have a favor to ask. I’d love it if readers would let me know about examples of scenes in literature, film, or other art forms where brains or other body parts are probed, touched, examined, held, or cut open with the motive of finding immaterial stuff like the psyche or consciousness. A few examples come to mind …”

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