Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Evolution & Literature: Madame Bovary’s Ovaries

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From Arts & Letters Daily’s link to Denis Dutton’s review of David and Nanelle Barash’s Madame Bovary’s Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at Literature, we find great links to a article by the Barashes called “Evolution and Literary Criticism” analyzing the biological implications of the Aeneid, another Dennis Dutton review of a different Darwinist literary study, and a (probably only accessible on campus) article called “Literature and Evolution: A Bio-Cultural Approach” by Nabokov scholar Brian Boyd. Great stuff.

Here’s a money quote from the second article:

It may be that much literature makes sense in the light of the current warhorses of critical analysis: Marx, Freud, textualism, postmodernism, “queer theory,” and so forth. But it is equally likely that a good deal of literature (just as life itself) makes more sense in the light of evolution. Accordingly, literary critics might well profit by adding Darwinian analysis to their armamentarium. After all, whereas Aristotle, Marx, Freud, Jung, Foucault, Derrida, and others offer intellectual richness, so does Darwin. Moreover, Darwin has an additional appeal: He was right.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 8, 2005 at 3:54 pm

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