The Literary Darwinists – New York Times

This is a fascinating look at the evolution of literature. On that note, I have hit delays in writing my novel this month “The Philosopher’s Bum.” Sometimes life is like that, waits until you have plans to send them skittering astray…no worries though…I have started it and though it may take me longer than I first thought…I will still write it and post it here for subscribers of Incredible Fukn.us to read….
Chairman
Jane Austen first published “Pride and Prejudice” in 1813. She had misgivings about the book, complaining in a letter to her sister that it was “rather too light, and bright, and sparkling.” But these qualities may be what make it the most popular of her novels. It tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman from a shabby genteel family, who meets Mr. Darcy, an aristocrat. At first, the two dislike each other. Mr. Darcy is arrogant; Elizabeth, clever and cutting. But through a series of encounters that show one to the other in a more appealing light – as well as Mr. Darcy’s intervention when an officer named Wickham runs away with Elizabeth’s younger sister Lydia (Darcy bribes the cad to marry Lydia) – Elizabeth and Darcy come to love each other, to marry and, it is strongly suggested at book’s end, to live happily ever after.
For the common reader, “Pride and Prejudice” is a romantic comedy. His or her pleasure comes from the vividness of Austen’s characters and how familiar they still seem: it’s as if we know Elizabeth and Darcy. On a more literary level, we enjoy Austen’s pointed dialogue and admire her expert way with humor. For similar reasons, critics have long called “Pride and Prejudic” a classic – their ultimate (if not well defined) expression of approval.
But for an emerging school of literary criticism known as Literary Darwinism, the novel is significant for different reasons. Just as Charles Darwin studied animals to discover the patterns behind their development, Literary Darwinists read books in search of innate patterns of human behavior: child bearing and rearing, efforts to acquire resources (money, property, influence) and competition and cooperation within families and communities. They say that it’s impossible to fully appreciate and understand a literary text unless you keep in mind that humans behave in certain universal ways and do so because those behaviors are hard-wired into us. For them, the most effective and truest works of literature are those that reference or exemplify these basic facts.
Read the rest at The New York Times