1st Edition

Unorthodox Minds in Contemporary Fiction

Edited By Grzegorz Maziarczyk, Joanna Klara Teske Copyright 2025
    246 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Unorthodox Minds in Contemporary Fiction seeks to provide an overview of the ways in which broadly understood contemporary fiction envisions, explores and engenders minds going beyond the classical models. The opening essay discusses the complex relationships between such innovative concepts of the mind and experimental techniques for presenting mentality. The chapters which follow focus on (dis)embodied and/or extended mind, virtuality of avatar minds, intermental thought of reader communities, the capability of artificial intelligence (and humans) for genuine selfless love, the interplay between technology and affect in posthuman consciousness. The books under discussion include Murmur by Will Eaves, The Unfortunates by B.S. Johnson, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker and Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan. A piece of conceptual fiction by Steve Tomasula, one of the most innovative American novelists of our times, exploring the human mind’s alleged power to transcend its biological limits, complements these scholarly inquiries.

    List of Figures


    List of Contributors


    Formal Experiments and Innovative Models of the Mind in Contemporary Fiction: An Introduction

    Grzegorz Maziarczyk and Joanna Klara Teske


    1.Towards an Account of Interactive Narrative Time

    Isabelle Wentworth


    2.Back and Forth: The Dynamics of Memory in Gabriel Josipovici’s After and The Cemetery in Barnes

    Magdalena Sawa


    3.Memory Works: The Enactivist Approach to the Fragmented Mind in B.S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates

    Daria Baryshnikova


    4.“I am a being but not a body”: The Representations of (Dis)embodiment in Murmur by Will Eaves

    Patrycja Podgajna


    5.The Avatar Dynamic: Cognitive Conditions in Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses

    Nathan D. Frank


    6.Casting a Digital Shadow: Juan José Millás and Current Human Experience

    Michal Tal


    7. Happy New World: Consciousness, Technology and Affect in Nicola Barker's H(A)PPY

    Grzegorz Maziarczyk


    8. Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan and Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro: Artificial Intelligence and Genuine Love 

    Joanna Klara Teske


    9.Networks of Minds in David Foster Wallace’s Online Communities

    Gabriela Tucan


    10.Clay (A Sci-Fi Parable (with at Least 2 Endings))

    Steve Tomasula




    Grzegorz Maziarczyk is Director of the Institute of Literary Studies at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. His main research interests include textual materiality, multimodal storytelling, digital narrativity, fictional minds and dystopia. He is the author of The Narratee in Contemporary British Fiction (2005) and The Novel as Book: Textual Materiality in Contemporary Fiction in English (2013).

    Joanna Klara Teske is Associate Professor in the Institute of Literary Studies at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. She is the author of Philosophy in Fiction (2008), Contradictions in Art: The Case of Postmodern Fiction (2016) and articles on contemporary English-language fiction and cognitive theory of art. She is currently working on projects concerning metamodernist fiction and narrative representations of mentality.