Philip Davis

Novel Ideas

Why Do We Care About Literary Characters?


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

    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,