“In merging literary and evolutionary approaches, this book is certain to bring delight to an evolutionary audience and a combination of interest and consternation to the literary contingent. This is wholly appropriate for a fascinating pioneering work.” Christopher Boehm, Director, The Goodall Research Center, University of Southern California
“[The authors] bring three vital ingredients to this study of nineteenth-century English novels: a love of the novels, a modern understanding of human evolutionary biology, and facility with modern methods of data analysis. The result is a stunning synthesis; many dream of some reconciliation between the sciences and the humanities. [This book] has actually stepped in and started us down that road.”–Henry Harpending, professor of Anthropology, University of Utah
“Once every century or so, a paradigm shift erupts in how we perceive literature. Graphing Jane Austen is this century’s revolution. It is a masterpiece of creative, synthesizing science that lays the groundwork for an entirely new way of looking at, and understanding literature.” –Barbara Oakley, Oakland University, author of Cold-Blooded Kindness and Evil Genes.
Book Description: Why have we evolved to delight in telling stories and listening to them? Can literary meaning be discovered through data? What is more important to the identity of a literary character: gender or moral disposition? This boldly original study answers such questions and thus changes the debate about literary Darwinism. Constructing an evolutionary model of human nature and adopting scientific methods of research, this book explains the organization of characters in nineteenth-century British novels, yields rich insights into specific literary works, and demonstrates that evolutionary thinking can solve basic problems of literary theory.