Darwinian literary studies

Darwinian Literary Studies

Darwinian literary studies

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Darwinian Literary Studies (aka Literary Darwinism) is a branch of literary criticism that studies literature in the context of evolution by means of natural selection, including gene-culture coevolution. It represents an emerging trend of neo-Darwinian thought in intellectual disciplines beyond those traditionally considered as evolutionary biology: evolutionary psychology, evolutionary anthropology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, affective neuroscience, behavioural genetics, evolutionary epistemology, and other such disciplines.

The Scope and Character of Literary Darwinism

Literary Darwinists use concepts from evolutionary biology and the evolutionary human sciences to formulate principles of literary theory and interpret literary texts. They investigate interactions between human nature and the forms of cultural imagination, including literature and its oral antecedents. By “human nature,” they mean a pan-human, genetically transmitted set of dispositions: motives, emotions, features of personality, and forms of cognition. Because the Darwinists concentrate on relations between genetically transmitted dispositions and specific cultural configurations, they often describe their work as "biocultural critique.”For introductory commentaries on evolutionary studies in the humanities, see , Hudson Review; , The......
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