Cortext-ual Contention

Fascinating post last week on Jonah Lehrer’s blog, The Frontal Cortex, inspired by Marco Roth’s n+1 essay, “The Rise of the Neuronovel.” Lehrer takes issue with Roth’s thesis that “neurological” novelists — e. g., the Ian McEwan of Saturday and the Richard Powers of The Echo Maker — have ceded their ground (and their idea of character) to science.

Roth’s essay is smart, and so is Lehrer’s counterargument, which invokes the brains of Emile Zola, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, and so is Roth’s elaboration of his ideas in the comments to Lehrer’s post. All in all, very good reading.