What’s the big idea?

Dostoevsky tackled free will, Tolstoy the meaning of life – but is it still possible to write philosophical novels?

Jennie Erdal

At St Andrews University in the early 1970s, philosophy was still a required subject for entry into an honours course. To leave the way clear for reading modern languages, I decided that the requirement would best be dispatched in my first year. Before I knew it, I was hooked and ended up dropping one of the languages in favour of a joint degree in moral philosophy and Russian.

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