On David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’, and why the humanities ought to pay more attention to science…

by adamsopticks


So the film adaptation of David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’ is out this week, and seeing as this is (probably) the last time there’s likely to be 3-hour multimillion-dollar advertisement for my undergraduate dissertation, I thought I’d post it up.

The essay’s a few years old now, but I’m still very proud of it. ‘Cloud Atlas’ is essentially an epic meditation on human nature across the ages, and I was determined to show that the controversial science of evolutionary psychology could do a better job of teasing out the novel’s depths than the vacuous postmodernist philosophy so in-vogue across the humanities and social sciences. I discuss figures such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida on the one side, and E. O. Wilson and Noam Chomsky on the other.

Here it is!

Cloud Atlas Dissertation

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