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Giles Goat-Boy; or, The Revised New Syllabus

Giles Goat-Boy

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Ellen Gilchrist Biography to Grain

a novel by John Barth, published in 1966. Giles Goat-Boy, John Barth's fourth novel, depicts a world which has become a vast university divided into two ‘campuses’, East and West, each of which is controlled by huge, seemingly omnipotent computers. The novel is, in effect, an ambitious science-fictional spoof, and, despite its somewhat excessive length, is frequently immensely funny and merciless in its satire. The title refers to the novel's ‘hero’, Giles Goat-Boy, the world's first programmed man who, though the son of a computer, is reared by a herd of goats; the subtitle alludes to a kind of revised mythology, a new ‘New Testament’, which will replace the outmoded myths of the past. Giles Goat-Boy's adventures form the essentially picaresque framework which structures the novel.

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