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It is encouraging to see audible offering academic texts on fascinating topics, but this selection has serious shortcomings both in terms of its substance and implementation. The author is exploring how models of selfhood appear in literature, but after a brief introduction the book is mostly a discussion of the plot and themes of various works of fiction, in which the author slots them into various categories of types of treatments of the self (Hegelian, Aristophanic, dyadic,) and while these books seem sensibly organized, the larger implications of the presence of these patterns of selfhood is inadequately considered. The book is thin in terms of cultural theory, historical context, cognitive science . . . any larger framing, really. The author fails to answer the crucial question of “so what?”
Another problem with this selection is that it is incompetently read, with many distracting, ridiculous mispronunciations of commonplace intellectual words that draw the listener out of the argument. This book requires that the reader be able to speak French and German, neither of which he can. The French passages, for instance, are read in an effete, comically high-pitched caricature of how a provincial American might imagine French people talk. Hiring an academic adviser to coach readers on pronunciations of big words, and using readers who can competently speak in the requisite foreign languages, could improve the quality of books like this.
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