The ‘Novel of Ideas’/ The Human Age/ The Soul of the Marionette


Is There Life in the ‘Novel of Ideas’?

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Saturday 28 February 2015, 5-6.30pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Peter Boxall, Professor of English, University of Sussex

Jennie Erdal, writer. She is the author of Ghosting and The Missing Shade of Blue: A Philosophical Adventure

Andrew O’Hagan, novelist and writer. His books include The Missing,Our FathersPersonality and The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe

Chair: Michael Caines, writer and an editor on the TLS

Is the ‘novel of ideas’ an outdated genre or are we witnessing its resurgence? What answers can it offer to twenty-first century questions? In this panel, three speakers discussed examples of the ‘novel of ideas’ and assessed the genre’s contemporary relevance.


The Human Age? Art and Identity in the Anthropocene

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Saturday 28 February 2015, 11am – 12.30pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Matthew Griffiths, writer, scholar and novelist, whose work focuses primarily on climate change

Gaia Vince, writer and journalist. She is the author of Adventures in the Anthropocene

Kathryn Yusoff, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Queen Mary, University of London

Chair: Danielle Sands, Lecturer in Philosophy, Royal Holloway, University of London and Forum for European Philosophy Fellow

The controversial designation ‘Anthropocene’ names a geological epoch in which the planet has been irrevocably changed by human activity. In this panel, three thinkers considered the ways in which the Anthropocene requires us to reconsider both human self-identity and the human capacity for creation and destruction. Is art a narcissistic reflection of human concerns and desires or might it provide a model for dynamic and interactive responses to the global challenges which we face?


The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom

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Wednesday 25 February 2015, 7-8.30pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

John Gray, Emeritus Professor of European Thought, LSE. His books include False DawnStraw Dogs and The Silence of Animals

Chair: Danielle Sands, Lecturer in Philosophy, Royal Holloway, University of London and Forum for European Philosophy Fellow

In this lecture, John Gray drew together the religious, philosophic and fantastical traditions that question the very idea of human freedom. The most enormous forces – biological, physical, metaphysical – constrain our every action and yet we flatter ourselves about the nature of free will. Many writers and intellectuals have understood this, but instead of embracing our condition we battle against it, with everyone from world conquerors to modern scientists dreaming of a ‘human dominion’ almost comically at odds with our true state.