Higgs’s prose has a diamond-hard clarity. He knows how to make us relate. The modern-day equivalent of the 1780 anti-Catholic Gordon Riots would be a far-right anti-Muslim protest, he explains. Wordsworth and Coleridge are the McCartney and Lennon of Romanticism. Studying the brain to understand consciousness is like studying the insides of a television in a sports bar to understand what is happening in the cup final.