Philip Davis

Novel Ideas

Why Do We Care About Literary Characters?

By

Johns Hopkins University Press 273pp order from our bookshop

Students can get up to some embarrassing things, but one of the worst, in the eyes of the over-professionalised academic, is when they follow the untaught instincts of ordinary readers. It made her panic, Blakey Vermeule confesses, when a student in her graduate class at Northwestern University in 2002 committed a sudden terrible heresy: ‘talking about a fictional character as though he were a real person’! 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,