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

By Nancy Easterlin

ISBN-10: 1421404729

ISBN-13: 9781421404721

ISBN-10: 1421405040

ISBN-13: 9781421405049

Combining cognitive and evolutionary study with conventional humanist tools, Nancy Easterlin demonstrates how a biocultural standpoint in idea and feedback opens up new probabilities for literary interpretation.

Easterlin keeps that the perform of literary interpretation remains to be of vital highbrow and social price. Taking an open but sensible technique, she argues, besides the fact that, that literary interpretation stands to realize dramatically from a fair-minded and artistic software of cognitive and evolutionary study. This paintings does simply that, expounding a biocultural approach that charts a center direction among overly reductive methods to literature and traditionalists who see the sciences as a chance to the humanities.

Easterlin develops her biocultural strategy by means of evaluating it to 4 significant subfields inside of literary experiences: new historicism, ecocriticism, cognitive techniques, and evolutionary ways. After an intensive overview of every subfield, she reconsiders them in gentle of appropriate 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 reviews that without delay preserves the valuable value that interpretation performs within the humanities and embraces the interesting advancements of the cognitive sciences.

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Extra resources for A Biocultural Approach to Literary Theory and Interpretation

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Most critically, biocultural criticism, as I envision it, does not employ an a priori model that it presumes has application to the vast majority of literary texts. The drawback of many pseudoscientific twentieth-century programs was to work deductively from such models, and many of us have been left bored and unenlightened by such approaches. 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.

In this light, the notion of anything resembling scientific objectivity in interpretive criticism—Carroll’s “Archimedean point of critical leverage”—seems unachievable. As Nordlund notes, quoting Robert Trigg, “being ‘a realist about one class of entity does not commit one to being a realist about every class,’ and it is perfectly possible (at least in theory) to be a scientific realist as well as a literary relativist” (“Consilient,” 314). 31 If humans succumb to extinction but other species of animals and plants survive, the cells within those surviving organisms will retain their full functional utility and thus will be real in a sense that books left to decay in unused libraries and empty homes will not be.

Religion, on the other hand, needs art as a precursor. Without the existence of stories that diverge from the true, without the first fictions, religion could not have arisen. Religion depends on the power of story. (114) The confusion here derives from the assumption that religion in these hypotheses refers to a coherent cosmology and set of beliefs, however rudimentary in their formulation, rather than an impulse of a holistic, nonanalytic, and fairly primitive mind to solve core metaphysical and psychological conflicts.

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A Biocultural Approach to Literary Theory and Interpretation by Nancy Easterlin


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