A modest proposal for a reorientation in literary studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This essay offers a review of Literature, Science and a New Humanities by Jonathan Gottschall. The author challenges the field of literary studies to rethink long-held assumptions about the nature of knowledge and human nature. In particular, what appear to be dominant tendencies in the field have strongly resisted the inclusion of findings from biology and genetics specifically. This resistance is tied to a view that scientific methods do not apply to the study of literature, and that radical social-constructivist theory presents a general alternative to the traditional methods of scientific inquiry. A proposal is made to incorporate recent advances in the cognitive sciences into the analysis of literature. Specifically, concepts drawn from evolutionary psychology might be especially useful in the analysis of narrative themes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-317
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage and Literature
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Fingerprint

science
biology
psychology
inclusion
narrative
literature
Literary Studies
Scientific Method
Evolutionary Psychology
Cognitive Science
Constructivist
Human Nature
Inclusion
Scientific Inquiry

Keywords

  • cognitive semantics
  • cross-cultural universals
  • evolutionary psychology
  • narrative
  • social constructivism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

A modest proposal for a reorientation in literary studies. / Francis, Norbert.

In: Language and Literature, Vol. 19, No. 3, 08.2010, p. 305-317.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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