Ep.40 Josh Cohen: How to Live: What You Can Learn From Your Favourite Literary Character


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Who is your favourite literary character? According to Dr Josh Cohen, an academic working in literary theory and also a psychoanalyst, this can be a very important question.

Josh Cohen’s new book is How to Live. What To Do: In search of ourselves in life and literature. He believes that there are major similarities between psychoanalysis and great literature. For one thing, neither offers simple answers to complex questions.

With books, you have the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of someone else, understand what makes them click and why they do what they do. With analysis, which is generally over several years, you do something similar with your unconscious, and come to understand yourself better.

In this episode Josh and Andrew discuss the books that have stayed with them throughout their lives. They also touch on the essential quality of imagination in childhood, and why we all need to “be more Alice”.

Josh Cohen is a professor of modern literary theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a psychoanalyst in private practice. He is the author of many books on aspects of modern life.

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