Exploring the Outside and the Inside: Double Vision in Joan Slonczewski’s Brain Plague
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With its vision of how the possibility of enhancing the human brain by means of intelligent microbes would change the nature of humanity, Slonczewski‘s Brain Plague (2000) provides a fertile ground for multiple interpretations. Deploying the theme of intelligence and the brain, it belongs to the literature linked to the life sciences. In terms of its generic aspect, the novel should be classified as hards cience fiction, because it is predicated on scientific underpinnings. In this paper, however, Brain Plague is, in the first place, viewed as a double parabolic projection serving as a social critique of theactual world and as an educational tool. Employing the notions of parabolic projection and conceptual metaphor, both formulated under the cognitive poetics paradigm, the paper seeks to demonstrate how Slonczewski, a scientist holding a PhD in biology and a popular writer, elicits in the reader the aesthetic effect called cognitive engagement.
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