Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Book club: The Hard Problem
  1. Katharine Harding
  1. Correspondence to Dr Katharine Harding, Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK; katharineharding{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

In a new departure for our book club, we read a play: The Hard Problem,1 by Tom Stoppard (figure 1), one of the best known dramatists of our time. Though only a short read, our discussion still raised many interesting ideas. Few of our members had read a play before outside of school Shakespeare lessons, and we were initially divided as to whether it was a worthwhile experience. Some had found it liberating, since with dialogue alone, imagination became much more important, particularly in working out a character's reasons and motivations for doing or saying what they did. Others felt that reading a play text seemed clunky and artificial, and something to experience only through watching a real performance.

Figure 1

The Hard Problem (source:

The story centres around Hilary, a psychology researcher in the …

View Full Text


  • Twitter Follow Katharine Harding at @drkatharineh

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Other content recommended for you