By Gregory Kirschling
Updated October 26, 2007 04:00 AM
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Jonah Lehrer, a 26-year-old Rhodes scholar, pens a slim, brainy book about the brain, modernist art, and literature. His illuminating argument in Proust Was a Neuroscientist: Major advances in neuroscience were presaged in the works of Paul Cénne, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, et al. Each of Lehrer’s chapters is devoted to one artist, and gets a tad predictable (e.g., Woolf thought the self was an illusion? Later neuroscientists backed her up!). After a while, you half-expect to learn that Herman Melville cured brain tumors with Moby-Dick. But Lehrer writes skillfully and coherently about both art and science — no small feat.