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Biopoetics: Evolutionary Explorations in the Arts

Biopoetics: Evolutionary Explorations in the Arts
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$26.95 (26.95)
“I admire greatly [the work of Brett Cooke and Frederick Turner). In contrast to the current body of literary and art criticism, ...[theirs] is the only trend I’ve seen headed somewhere. I think [they] stand a good chance of creating a critical view that is both bearable and durable.... I can see [biothematics] taking over from deconstruction by 2010, and permanently.”–Edward 0. Wilson, Pellegrino University Research Professor and Honorary Curator in Entomology of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University and Pulitzer Prize Winner, On Human Nature

“Here is a methodology in gestation that will eventually succeed in bringing together scientific and aesthetic consideration, in a manner that will sidestep the otherwise sterile struggles of humanist-anti-humanist thinkers...biopoetics seems to offer a viable antidote to the current crop of ‘postmodernist’ academics so enraptured with games of deconstruction aesthetes of randomness, who nonetheless revolt when evolutionary theory threatens their neatly concealed anthropocentrism.”–George E. Slusser, Department of Literature and Language, University of California at Riverside

Biopoetics: Evolutionary Explorations in the Arts offers a comprehensive introduction to the burgeoning field created by the application of evolutionary psychology to the study of literature and other arts. Twenty essays by leading scholars in literature, art history, psychology, anthropology, chaos theory and genetics provide a wide representation of the nearly innumerable venues for this powerful new paradigm, all rooted in contemporary scientific findings. Theoretical statements on how our genetic heritage influences our aesthetic preferences are backed up by careful studies of works of art ranging from ancient body decoration to science
fiction. Complemented by two annotated bibliographies of scholarship pertinent to biopoetics, this multifaceted perspective provides a prospective explorer a myriad of paths to follow towards the human nature of such artistic essentials as novelty, tradition, ecstacy and interest.

Table of Contents

1. Overview and Origins
Biopoetics: The New Synthesis
Brett Cooke
“Making Special”–An Undescribed Human Universal and the Core of a Behavior of Art
Ellen Dissanayake
The Descent of Fantasy
Eric S. Rabkin
Preliminary Remarks on Literary Memetics
Daniel Rancour-Laferriere
On Art
Edward O. Wilson
Edward O. Wilson on Art
Brett Cooke
An Ecopoetics of Beauty and Meaning
Frederick Turner
“Theory,” Anti-Theory, and Empirical Criticism
Joseph Carroll
II. New Sociobiological Explorations in Art
Biochemicals and Brains: Natural Selection for Manipulators of Sexual Ecstacy and Fantasy
Wayne E. Allen
Sexual Property in Pushkin’s “Me Snowstorm”: A Darwinist Perspective
Brett Cooke
Gethenian Nature, Human Nature, and the Nature of Reproduction: A Fantastic Flight through Ethnographic Hyperspace
Lee Cronk
The Dance with Darkness: The Limits of Human Interest in Science Fiction
Gary Westfahl
Do Cognitive Predispositions Predict or Determine Literary Value Judgments? Narrativity, Plot, and Aesthetics
Nancy Easterlin
Art: The Replicable Unit
Kathryn Coe
Imagination and Survival: The Case of Fantastic Literature
Eric S. Rabkin
The “Novel” Novel: A Sociobiological Analysis of the Novelty Drive As Expressed in Science Fiction
Joseph D. Miller
Tragedy and Chaos
Alexander Argyros
The Prehistory of Theatre: A Path with Six Turnings
Brian Hansen
Antecedents of Musical Meaning in the Mother-Infant Dyad
Ellen Dissanayake
In Search of Texture
Koen DePryck
III. Sources
Literature of Early “Scientific” and “Evolution” Aesthetics
Nancy E. Aiken
Selectionist Studies of the Arts: An Annotated Bibliography
Brett Cooke and Nancy E. Aiken
Author’s Page

BRETT COOKE is Associate Professor of Russian at Texas A&M University.

FREDERICK TURNER is Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas.

448 pp 0-89226-204-4 $26.95+ hc Territory: World
0-89226-205-2 $16.95+ pb Rights: Paragon House
Subject: Philosophy/Science Rights: All available

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