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This interview is taken from PN Review 162, Volume 31 Number 4, March - April 2005.

Raymond Tallis in Conversation Nicolas Tredell

Ibis Hotel, Euston, London, 20 October 2004

NICHOLAS TREDELL: You've had a very busy, responsible and successful professional life as a doctor and scientist; you're now Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester and a Consultant Physician in Health Care of the Elderly in Salford, and your current Who's Who entry states that you've published over 170 scientific papers and articles and several medical books. Despite an extremely strenuous schedule, you've also found the time to produce an impressive body of work on literary, cultural and philosophical topics and to write fiction and poetry. From Not Saussure in 1988 to The Knowing Animal, the third volume of your Handkind trilogy, which is out this week, your books contain many fascinating autobiographical fragments. Could you begin by telling us about your earlier life, focusing particularly on those experiences which have been important in your intellectual development?

RAYMOND TALLIS: The most important experience took place was when I was in my early teens. I was a fairly unreflective, scrupulously hardworking, rather timid schoolboy and then when I was fifteen I had a period of almost unremitting terror when I experienced as genuine and frightening perplexities many of those things that ultimately turn out to be philosophical questions. I'm very grateful that I didn't go and see a doctor at that stage because he almost certainly would have diagnosed, as I would have done, complex partial seizures. I think this ...

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