Posts Tagged ‘literary Darwinism’
May 4, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
- About a decade ago, Jonathan Gottschall pioneered “literary Darwinism,” a school of thought that interprets literature through the prism of evolutionary desires. By bringing biological concerns to English departments, he hoped to rescue the humanities from triviality: “the alternative is to let literature study keep spinning off into a corner of irrelevance to die.” Today, perhaps unsurprisingly, his career “is in a precarious place,” but hey, at least he’s writing trade books …
- Hardly anyone is writing love songs anymore—can we assume, from this, that hardly anyone is in love? “The traditional romantic love song has lately ceased to be as central to American pop music as it still was well into the ’70s. For now, while the pop charts are laden with songs about love, that love is often rendered in an anti-romantic manner that is sharply at variance with how love was customarily portrayed during the golden age of American popular song.”
- Lynne Tillman on David Wojnarowicz, whose photo-book Brush Fires in the Social Landscape was published twenty years ago: “In the 1980s, being infected by HIV and developing AIDS was an unchosen, horrific fate, fatal. People were very frightened, and felt hopeless. Not every artist or writer responded as Wojnarowicz did. His responses were unique, thoroughly felt, and driven by an urgent necessity. In his time, his work was extraordinarily moving—it stunned. It will never be experienced again as it was then, in that very dark moment.
- “Occasionally, unintentionally, triggered by a smell or an old tune, my mind drifts to that time when Paris didn’t resemble the USA at all ... ” Nadja Tesich, the star of Eric Rohmer’s 1964 short film Nadja à Paris, on the French New Wave and filmmaking in the Paris of yore.
- As a boy, Julian Barnes experienced an artistic awakening—and it was Gustave Moreau who made the scales fall from his eyes. “I was uncertain what to make of such work: exotic, bejeweled, and darkly glittering, with an odd mixture of private and public symbolism, little of which I could unscramble. Perhaps it was this mysteriousness that attracted me; and perhaps I admired Moreau the more because nobody told me to do so. But it was certainly here that I remember myself for the first time consciously looking at pictures, rather than being passively and obediently in their presence.”
February 6, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Teens of Toronto: Are you fed up with Valentine’s Day and the crass commercialization of love—thorny, ineffable love? Then head to the library, where you can vandalize the covers of romance novels.
- With the Burroughs centenary came a welcome glut of Burroughs miscellany, including these photos of the man hanging out with Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, and Sting.
- Today in ethically compromised vacation sites: Prora, a Nazi beach resort built just before the World War II. (Nowadays, part of it is a youth hostel: “You can hear the sound of the sea and meet like-minded people from around the world.”)
- “Defined simply, literary Darwinism is the practice of using the theory of evolution to understand books.” I think I need it defined complexly.
- St. Mark’s Bookshop is “gathering its forces for a big move.” You can help—not by lugging boxes but by shopping there, right now, this instant. Begone!