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Dr Rob Mayo

Dr Rob MayoECR Researcher
Rob Mayo is the author of Depression and Dysphoria in the Fiction of David Foster Wallace (Routledge, 2021). He is now working on the intersection of psychiatric knowledge and video game mechanics in Robert Pinsky's Mindwheel and Tim Schafer's Psychonauts, as part of a larger project on the theme of 'inner space' in science fiction literature, film and video games.

Research and Teaching Interests

Rob’s 2021 monograph examines David Foster Wallace’s career-long focus on painful emotions and mental disorder, as well as his abiding antagonism towards the American psychiatric industry. Crucial to this project are questions of when painful emotions can or should be categorised as the result of mental disorder, and what form of support or cure can be provided by healthcare professionals.

Rob’s current project casts a wider net over Anglophone science fiction from 1948 to the present day, examining the trope of ‘inner space’ wherein the human mind is presented as a virtual metaphorical space which can be explored and interacted with. This, too, most often focuses on neurodivergence, and also demonstrates how medical concepts and technologies (such as the electroencephalograph) are absorbed and reimagined in the broader culture.


DepressionDysphoriaInner SpaceNeurodiversityPsychiatry