Cheek Swabs for Hamlet
THE SOURCE: “Adaptation: On Literary Darwinism” by William Deresiewicz, in The Nation, May 20, 2009.
Are Homer, Shakespeare, and Cervantes products of natural selection, like the opposable thumb and the Galápagos finches? A small but militant group of literary Darwinists is shaking up the field of English literature with erudite books making such a case. But how, exactly, would storytelling have improved the fitness and increased the survival rate of Homo sapiens in the Pleistocene world?
William Deresiewicz, a former professor of...