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Reading Human Nature
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Showcases the latest developments in literary Darwinism, a powerful approach that integrates evolutionary social science with literary humanism. As the founder and leading practitioner of “literary Darwinism,” Joseph Carroll remains at the forefront of a major movement in literary studies. Signaling key new developments in this approach, Reading Human Nature contains trenchant theoretical essays, innovative empirical research, sweeping surveys of intellectual history, and sophisticated interpretations of specific literary works, including The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wuthering Heights, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Hamlet. Evolutionists in the social sciences have succeeded in delineating basic motives but have given far too little attention to the imagination. Carroll makes a compelling case that literary Darwinism is not just another “school” or movement in literary theory. It is the moving force in a fundamental paradigm change in the humanities—a revolution. Psychologists and anthropologists have provided massive evidence that human motives and emotions are rooted in human biology. Since motives and emotions enter into all the products of a human imagination, humanists now urgently need to assimilate a modern scientific understanding of “human nature.” Integrating evolutionary social science with literary humanism, Carroll offers a more complete and adequate understanding of human nature.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Reading Human Nature
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Illustrations
  2. p. vii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. Part I. Adaptationist Literary Theory
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. 1. An Evolutionary Paradigm for Literary Study, with Two Sequels
  2. pp. 3-54
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  1. 2. An Evolutionary Apologia pro Vita Mea
  2. pp. 55-60
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  1. 3. A Meta-Review of The Art Instinct
  2. pp. 61-70
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  1. 4. Three Scenarios for Literary Darwinism
  2. pp. 71-88
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  1. Part 2. Interpretive Practice
  2. pp. 89-90
  1. 5. Aestheticism, Homoeroticism, and Christian Guilt in The Picture of Dorian Gray
  2. pp. 91-108
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  1. 6. The Cuckoo’s History: Human Nature in Wuthering Heights
  2. pp. 109-122
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  1. 7. Intentional Meaning in Hamlet: An Evolutionary Perspective
  2. pp. 123-148
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  1. Part 3. Empirical Literary Study:An Experiment in Web-Based Research
  2. pp. 149-150
  1. 8. Agonistic Structure in Victorian Novels: Doing the Math
  2. pp. 151-176
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  1. 9. Quantifying Agonistic Structure in The Mayor of Casterbridge
  2. pp. 177-194
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  1. Part 4. Evolutionary Intellectual History
  2. pp. 195-196
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  1. 10. The Power of Darwin’s Vision
  2. pp. 197-258
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  1. 11. The Science Wars in a Long View: Putting the Human in Its Place
  2. pp. 259-270
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  1. 12. A Darwinian Revolution in the Humanities
  2. pp. 271-278
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 279-308
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  1. References
  2. pp. 309-323
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 333-352
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