Einstein's brain in three parts

Peter Fenves*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reflecting on Barthes's dissection of the "mythical object" identified as Einstein's brain, this article shows that the section of Mythologies entitled "Einstein's Brain" not only occupies the mathematical center of the volume but also, splitting Einstein apart from himself, concludes with an abbreviated version of its general theory of myth. The article then extends Barthes's inquiry in two directions: first, it examines three contemporary versions of Einstein (concerning his mind, his soul, and his brain, which was preserved and segmented into two-hundred-some parts immediately upon his death); second, it considers the relationship between the disposition of Einstein's brain in the context of twenty-first-century neuroscience and the significance of Einstein's brand in the context of cloud-based commercial culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-188
Number of pages15
JournalYearbook of Comparative Literature
StatePublished - 2016


  • Albert einstein
  • Mathematics
  • Mythology
  • Neuroscience
  • Roland barthes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Religious studies


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