Download A Biocultural Approach to Literary Theory and Interpretation by Nancy Easterlin PDF

By Nancy Easterlin

Combining cognitive and evolutionary learn with conventional humanist equipment, Nancy Easterlin demonstrates how a biocultural point of view in thought and feedback opens up new percentages for literary interpretation.

Easterlin keeps that the perform of literary interpretation continues to be of valuable highbrow and social price. Taking an open but really appropriate technique, she argues, despite the fact that, that literary interpretation stands to realize dramatically from a fair-minded and artistic program of cognitive and evolutionary learn. This paintings does simply that, expounding a biocultural process that charts a center direction among overly reductive ways to literature and traditionalists who see the sciences as a possibility to the humanities.

Easterlin develops her biocultural procedure by way of evaluating it to 4 significant subfields inside literary reviews: new historicism, ecocriticism, cognitive methods, and evolutionary ways. After an intensive assessment of every subfield, she reconsiders them in gentle of correct study in cognitive and evolutionary psychology and gives a textual research of literary works from the romantic period to the current, together with William Wordsworth’s "Simon Lee" and the Lucy poems, Mary Robinson’s "Old Barnard," Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s "Dejection: An Ode," D. H. Lawrence’s The Fox, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, and Raymond Carver’s "I may See the Smallest Things."

A Biocultural method of Literary idea and Interpretation bargains a clean and reasoned method of literary experiences that right now preserves the significant significance that interpretation performs within the humanities and embraces the interesting advancements of the cognitive sciences.

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Additional info for A Biocultural Approach to Literary Theory and Interpretation

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Thus, the goal of the following chapters is to demonstrate to literary specialists that literature may be for many things and that a biocultural approach has broad application across literatures, topics, and subfields. The chapters maintain a philosophically coherent view of human beings while illustrating how different applications of interdisciplinary research can illuminate the human problems dramatized in literary texts. In this way, I hope to suggest that an acknowledgment of our shared human nature does nothing to reduce the diversity available in criticism, although it may well provide a little continuity to a remarkably fragmented discipline.

For most of our species’ existence, what we now retrospectively identify as the arts—dance and ritual, body adornment, chants and songs, cave paintings—were not produced by individual artists or consumed by solitary users. ”34 Art activities in the contemporary world, such as film and performance viewing, museumgoing, and the “as if ” pursuit of imaginative narratives, all occur in spheres separated off for most people from work and the everyday. Yet in spite of the differences between modern art activities, typically segregated from communal and work life, and premodern arts, integrated with community and work, and in spite of the division between popular, middle-brow, and high art forms, theorists recognize and strive to express the common elements in these diverse manifestations.

92) A universal and distinguishing feature of humans, making special has, according to Dissanayake, two adaptive functions. First, in imposing a civilizing order on everyday things and experience, it promotes a psychological sense of mastery and control; and second, through group activities, shared images, and the like, it promotes social cohesion. Dissanayake’s further elaboration of her theory in the subsequent two books bolsters her original account as she draws on cognitive science, neurophysiology, and developmental psychology to claim the adaptive and central function of aesthetic activities in premodern cultures and in human infancy.

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