Read The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative by Jonathan Gottschall Free Online
Book Title: The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative|
The author of the book: Jonathan Gottschall
Edition: Northwestern University Press
Date of issue: December 26th 2005
ISBN 13: 9780810122871
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Format files: PDF
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In recent years, articles in major periodicals from the New York Times Magazine to the Times Literary Supplement have heralded the arrival of a new school of literary studies that promises-or threatens-to profoundly shift the current paradigm. This revolutionary approach, known as Darwinian literary studies, is based on a few simple premises: evolution has produced a universal landscape of the human mind that can be scientifically mapped; these universal tendencies are reflected in the composition, reception, and interpretation of literary works; and an understanding of the evolutionary foundations of human behavior, psychology, and culture will enable literary scholars to gain powerful new perspectives on the elements, form, and nature of storytelling.
The goal of this book is to overcome some of the widespread misunderstandings about the meaning of a Darwinian approach to the human mind generally, and literature specifically. The volume brings together scholars from the forefront of the new field of evolutionary literary analysis-both literary analysts who have made evolution their explanatory framework and evolutionist scientists who have taken a serious interest in literature-to show how the human propensity for literature and art can be properly framed as a true evolutionary problem. Their work is an important step toward the long-prophesied synthesis of the humanities and what Steven Pinker calls "the new sciences of human nature."
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Read information about the authorJonathan Gottschall is an American literary scholar, the leading younger figure in literature and evolution. He teaches at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. He completed graduate work in English at State University of New York at Binghamton, where he worked under David Sloan Wilson.
His work The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence and the World of Homer describes the Homeric epic poems Iliad and Odyssey in terms of evolutionary psychology, with the central violent conflicts in these works driven by the lack of young women to marry and the resulting evolutionary legacy, as opposed to the violent conflicts being driven by honor or wealth.
Literature, Science and a New Humanities advocates that the humanities, and literary studies in particular, need to avail themselves of quantitative and objective methods of inquiry as well as the traditional qualitative and subjective, if they are to produce cumulative, progressive knowledge, and provides a number of case studies that apply quantitative methods to fairy and folk tale around the world to answer questions about human universals and differences.
Gottschall was profiled by the New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His work was featured in an article in Science describing literature and evolution.