Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

The Guardian’s Michael Billington, who seemed generally to approve, talked about an “information overload”, Paul Taylor, writing in The Independent, flatly declared that whatever the passion of the exegesis it never quite exerted a strong enough grip.

The Hard Problem features a young psychology researcher at a brain institute who believes in God, has her doubts about evolutionary biology and is mocked for these failings by some of her scientific-materialist colleagues. Even without the cut-and-thrust over the possibility of altruism, onlookers would very soon apprehend that they had fetched up – literally and metaphorically – in what the novelist Ronald Firbank would have called “the heart of a brainy district”. In fact, Sir Tom’s latest shows every sign of turning into a state-of-the-art parable of some of the figurative gin-traps that lie in wait for the creative artist who takes an interest in “ideas”.

Arguments about the play, or the novel,

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