The Tragic Evolutionary Logic of The Iliad

Brian Boyd

Philosophy and Literature, Volume 34, Number 1, April 2010, pp. 234-247 (Article) Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.1353/phl.0.0069

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Critical Discussion

The TragiC evoLuTionary LogiC of the iliad by Brian Boyd

onathan gottschall has conquered the oldest and craggiest peak of Western literature, the iliad, by a new face. he stakes out the Darwin route to homer so directly and clearly that he makes the climb inviting and inspiring even to curious newcomers without highaltitude evolutionary training. and the vista he opens up offers us a chance to look in multiple directions: at homer, at literary evolutionism and its possibilities, and at gottschall’s role in exploring this new route to discovery. one previous monograph has investigated a single literary work from a Darwinian viewpoint: Brett Cooke’s analysis of evgeny Zamyatin’s 1921 science-fiction classic, We.1 Cooke’s human Nature in Utopia, by showing how Zamyatin appeals to the evolved nature of readers, in the face of the denial of human nature in his imagined one State and in early Soviet Communism, deepens our natural response to a modern classic. But where Cooke merely succeeds, gottschall triumphs. the Rape of troy not only deepens our response to a classic discussed for almost three millennia but also explains the world of homer in a way no one could have seen without the multi-million-year perspective evolution allows—and does so with conceptual clarity, tight argument, effortless imagery, and copious verbal energy.
The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of Homer, by Jonathan gottschall; xii & 223 pp. Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 2008, $32.00 paperback.
Philosophy and Literature, © 2010, 34: 234–247


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gottschall emphasizes that his “evolutionary anthropology of conflict in homeric society” does not attempt a homeric “theory of everything” (pp. 3, 9). There is much of interest in the iliad he does not touch on, and much even in possible evolutionary approaches to homer that he does not consider. he focuses intently on a single two-part question: Why is there so much violence in the iliad, and what effect does it have on how those in homeric society see their world? after a brilliant introductory overview, he shows in his first two chapters how over the last century homerists have increasingly turned to comparative anthropology to augment the meagre direct data. They have clarified that the iliad was long obscured by later Western assumptions about states and kings, and that the poem probably reflects something like homer’s own world, within (at about 800 bce) the late greek Dark age, a pre-state society in many ways closer to highland new guinea than to the worlds of Caesar or Charlemagne. everyone who knows about the Trojan War knows that the greeks fight Troy because the Trojan prince Paris took helen from her husband, the greek lord Menelaus. But readers of the iliad want to know why thousands of soldiers on both sides persisted through ten years of brutal battle. Surely war on this scale cannot have been over just a woman? Scholars have proposed many explanations of what was really at stake. immortal honor for men all too aware, day after bloody day, of their own physical mortality? Power? Status? Material goods? Prestige goods? a chance to neutralize enemies? By drawing on evolutionary biology and anthropology, gottschall can show that this war, like most human violence against other humans, and even like most intraspecies animal violence, stems ultimately from male competition over females. he introduces the powerful and farreaching principle of differential parental investment developed by robert Trivers.2 as gottschall lucidly elaborates: “males will attempt to mate more promiscuously both because sex is cheaper for them, and because they have the potential to produce many offspring with multiple females. i emphasize the words ‘attempt’ and ‘potential’ because if every male adopts a relatively promiscuous strategy, and if some males succeed, then other males will not reproduce at all” (p. 44). The far more divergent rates of reproductive success among males than among females prove to be the key determinant. gottschall sums up: “males typically face higher risks of total reproductive failure and higher hopes of extraordinary reproductive success. This creates strong incentives to compete for mates. Males who are better able to compete for access to


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scarce female reproductive capacity, in whatever form the competition takes, pass on genes more effectively than rivals” (p. 45). The clarity and logic of the theory, and its fit with evidence across species and across human times, places and cultures, allow it to explain not just violence but many other differences between sexes in physiology, psychology and behavior. explaining the male propensity for violence in terms of competition for females “will strike some readers as recklessly reductive,” gottschall recognizes (p. 50). in fact we should see this as fruitfully reductive, in that it provides a deeper-level explanation for a range of higher-level phenomena. gottschall adduces ethnographic examples from the yanomamö of the amazon and from highland new guinea, and from anthropologist azar gat’s survey of pre-state societies. he cites the many explicit statements in the homeric epics that the abduction of women is a goal of war. he reasons closely with the details of the text: odysseus has twelve of his slave women slaughtered not because they have betrayed Penelope’s ruse at the loom, which we might suppose the relevant offense, but because they have had sex with the suitors; achilles certainly feels angry at agamemnon’s claiming Briseis from him because this undermines his status, but no other affront to his status would have the same effect. agamemnon
punishes achilles in the most humiliating and emasculating way imaginable: by threatening to personally visit his tents and snatch, by force if necessary, a woman achilles repeatedly claims to love and desire (e.g., iliad 9.335–440). achilles refers to her as a de facto wife, and there is good reason to believe that he intended to formalize their union after the war (19.295–99). There are no cultures in which agamemnon’s actions would not be considered among the gravest possible provocation. it is hard to imagine that the disputes between agamemnon and achilles, or between Menelaus and Paris, could have been carried so far if the main points of contention were, instead of stunningly beautiful women, other things coveted by homeric men, like beautiful armor or gleaming tripods. (p. 60)

But in another sense gottschall shows—not that he points this out explicitly—that an evolutionary explanation can be less reductive than earlier criticism. evolutionary theory makes the important distinction between ultimate causation—why a feature of body, mind, or behavior has been shaped as it has to confer reproductive advantage—and proximate causation—how a feature operates to achieve this advantage.

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Competition over potentially scarce reproductive resources explains the greater male tendency to violence. Males may compete for women directly, or indirectly, by competing for higher status (which itself has an ultimate likelihood of earning disproportionate access to females) or for resources (which also correlate with status and therefore with access to women). Because on average higher human male status and greater resources correlate with sexual success, men have been shaped on average to care about them and compete for them much more intensely than women do. They need not be aware that that is the ultimate reason: all they need are emotional triggers, and in fact they may be deflected from the immediate status competition if they are not caught up in the provocation of the moment. gottschall emphasizes with wonderful relish the sheer variety of ways in which male competitiveness plays out in homer. and as he writes:
the Rape of troy does not deny that homer’s heroes compete obsessively over honor, power, status, and material goods. in fact, this competition is absolutely central to its case. nonetheless, an evolutionary perspective suggests that commentators have typically had things backwards. for homer’s heroes, as for ordinary men, women are not a proximate route to the ultimate goals of honor, political power, and social dominance. on the contrary, honor, political power, and social dominance are proximate routes to the ultimate goal of women. (p. 10)

Where other commentators have tried to identify a particular desideratum like honor, power, status, or wealth as the key motive for which the greeks and Trojans fight, gottschall happily acknowledges them all: “i find it difficult to define a single main cause of homeric conflict—at least at the proximate level” (p. 82). his diagram of the non-hierarchical and reciprocal relationship among the three main proximate categories of homeric competition—women, resources, and status—illustrates vividly how they all feed “into the ultimate goal of enhanced reproductive success” (p. 83). his explanation is deeper—it explains all the many sources of male competition, violent or not—more secure, being based on a wealth of animal, ethnographic and textual data, and less reductive, in accepting and accounting for all the proximate motivations for male violence. as evolutionary approaches to literature and the other arts have increasingly attracted notice over recent years, they have also provoked criticism. Commonest among the many objections raised has been the claim that evolution can deal only with the species, and not the local


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or the individual. William Deresiewicz, for instance, writes that “literary studies is not concerned with large classes of phenomena of which individual cases are merely interchangeable and aggregable examples. it is concerned precisely with individual cases, and very few of them at that: the rare works of value that stand out from the heap of dross produced in every age.”3 But literary studies may choose to deal with large-scale trends or individual cases or something in between. evolutionary approaches do not focus only on universals. Behavioral ecology and evolutionary anthropology can explain local cultural reactions to local ecological conditions. evolutionary personality psychology adds new tools to the study of individual differences. Behavioral genetics focuses intently on explaining individual variation. gottschall aims at a universal, the male propensity to violence, both a cross-special universal, and a cross-cultural universal. for that reason, indeed, he calls his book the Rape of troy partly to remind us of the rape of nanking, and he recites a chilling roll-call of nations from afghanistan to Zimbabwe where rape has been an instrument of war in the twentieth century. as he notes, entirely socio-cultural explanations cannot account for what is a universal. and an evolutionary account that testifies to the universality of higher male than female levels of violence “clashes directly with the claim that violence is a cultural innovation with none but the most tenuous and inconsequential links to biology. it clashes with the claim that war is a novel pathology characteristic of human societies only since the neolithic revolution and the discovery of agriculture. and it clashes with the claim that males are more violent only because cultures arbitrarily condition them to be that way” (p. 51). But gottschall also insists on the variability of rates of violence across human cultures. as he notes, after contrasting amazonian and new guinea intergroup warfare with its near-absence among the inuit or the !Kung San, “it is clear that levels of human violence are not biologically determined: they are strongly influenced by variations in social and physical environments” (p. 120). although he rejects explanations that omit biology, he also insists that explanation of variance needs to go beyond biology into ecological, social, and cultural factors. he wants to know why homeric society seems so particularly prone to violence. he offers a number of reasons. rates of intergroup violence tend to remain high across pre-state societies where there are resources rich enough to compete over. The physical environment of greece, the sharp limestone valleys “that sliced the greek world into many small polities” (p. 120), led to political fragmentation and intensified intergroup

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differences and suspicions. But most important, he suggests, were two factors: “the polygynous institution of slave-concubinage” (p. 120) that meant a successful warrior could monopolize sexual access to many women, while other men stood to lose—and the homeric epics abound in evidence of the large number of women whom leaders have won by conquest; and “excess female Mortality” (efM) which would have skewed the sex ratio toward men, exacerbating male-male competition for available females. attuned to the methods of the sciences, gottschall does not try to compensate for inconclusive evidence by intensifying his rhetoric. he admits that there is no hard evidence for the systematic infanticide or neglect of females, even as he adduces what data he can. outside the epics, archeologists have found females to be under-represented in late greek Dark age public graves, where infants exposed at birth would not be buried. he highlights, in the texts themselves, the much greater numbers of male than female offspring among both mortals and gods, and the much greater parental pride, on average, in male than female children. he accepts that this disproportion may reflect only patriarchal bias, not actual sex ratios, but he notes that although the “evidence does not allow us to conclude that efM characterized homeric society,” it “allows us to conclude this: based on what we know about homeric society on firm ground, and about efM in other societies, conditions were very ripe for it” (p. 129). his bold hypothesis and his openness about evidence should provoke archaeologists into seeking more data to demonstrate or disprove efM in late Dark age greece. as he accounts for the high levels of violence in homeric society, gottschall also builds up an explanation for the “tragic and pessimistic worldview” (p. 5) embodied in the homeric epics. he explains the Prisoner’s Dilemma, a standard game-theory model that demonstrates the difficulty of initiating cooperation and the high risk of getting locked into cycles of non-cooperation, competition or retribution. Three consecutive chapters outline three vicious circles in which Prisoner’s Dilemma logic operates within homeric society: intense male status competition (chapter 5); female selection for “demonic” males as partners, males who can succeed in ruthless male competition and therefore will offer the best protection to females and offspring in a world rife with warfare, rape and abduction (chapter 6); and practices amplifying male competition for females, either polygyny alone or also efM (chapter 7). Three vicious circles, all turning the cycle of violence in the same


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way, could indeed generate a prevailing pessimism. But how sure can we be that the violence depicted in the iliad reflects homeric society and therefore causes the poem’s tragic mood? if the story of a ten-year war was handed down for centuries as the core of the Trojan story, as everybody accepts, why would the violence depicted in the iliad necessarily match the conditions of homeric society? gottschall notes that the wealth described in the two epics provides no picture of the modest economies probable in homer’s immediate world but derives from epic exaggeration. Why might the violence too, like the ten-year siege of Troy, not be an exaggeration far beyond anything homer could know from his own society? violence, injury, and death involve abrupt changes in state and therefore attract attention, from schoolyard fights to roadside accidents to terrorism or war on the television news. epics feed on violent confrontation. if homer was an ambitious author—and “it is now universally agreed that our epics present narratives of such coherence and sophistication that they cannot represent a mere accumulation of material over several centuries: a major creative effort must have gone into their final composition”4—then he would have wished to make the most of the violence natural to a war story. The modes of fighting may resemble those of homer’s own time more accurately than those of the time when the story was originally formed, whether in reflection of real events or in pure invention, but it would have been in his interest as a storyteller to maximize the violence in intensity, scale, and duration. nevertheless gottschall’s point stands about homer’s assumptions regarding the nature, if not the intensity, of the warfare: the background pattern of feud, of raid and counter-raid, and the routine abduction of women, all of which homer mentions often in passing, without epic amplification, and in the Odyssey as much as in the iliad. gottschall thinks the differences between the iliad and the Odyssey have been overstated (p. 147), and that the Odyssey too is tragic. But he describes only the gods of the iliad when he claims that “all of the fighting makes no sense unless forces this maniacal, capricious, and cruel control the universe” (p. 151). in the Odyssey the gods are not capricious. athena may still be bloodthirsty, but only to punish the suitors whose affronts she and the other gods feel and have repeatedly warned against. all the gods except Poseidon wish for odysseus to return, to reinstate order in ithaca, and to punish the suitors. The ills that befall men in the Odyssey are of their own making: the suitors offend mortals and immortals alike; odysseus’s companions fail to heed the strict injunction

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against killing the oxen sacred to helios, and perish as a result; odysseus himself, after blinding Polyphemus, exhibits a foolish and atypically illconsidered hubris when he announces to the Cyclops the name of the man who blinded him and therefore allows Polyphemus to call down the wrath of his father Poseidon. although the Odyssey closes with the families of the suitors attempting to exact vengeance on odysseus and his small party, an action prompted not by some directive of the gods but in a natural human reaction to odysseus’s slaughter, Zeus himself intervenes to stop the cycle of violence. The gods of the Odyssey are not maniacal and capricious and do not occasion “all of the fighting” but seek to limit it. That seems a substantial change of vision from the fatalism and pessimism gottschall identifies in the iliad. We do not know if that very considerable change derives from different subject matter—peacetime, the homecoming from war, rather than war itself—or from a change in homer’s outlook, purposes or commission, or from a change in the very identity of “homer.” But if the pessimistic outlook of the iliad were a direct reflection of the unending violence in homeric society, as gottschall maintains, and if the Odyssey has a decidedly different view of the gods, as i and most scholars believe, then we would have to suppose a major shift in homeric society—an end to the cycles of unending violence, in the generation or less that most scholars accept as elapsing between the iliad and the Odyssey. in short, i think gottschall has contributed powerfully to the explanation of the violence in the iliad, and perhaps in many or some phases of the societies in which the story was told and retold, down to homer himself, and perhaps, although this becomes still more uncertain, of the attitudes prevailing in homer’s society, or in homer himself, at the time of the composition of the iliad as we know it. i do not think he has allowed sufficiently for the artistic and intellectual freedom homer would have had in maximizing violence for the sake of maximizing audience attention—for the sake of telling the war story—or in rethinking his purposes in a second epic not focused on war. By drawing on evolution, gottschall has deepened the explanation of the violence at the heart of the iliad. But, as he says, his is not a “theory of everything” homeric, and there are many other possible evolutionary approaches to the poem that could enrich our understanding in other ways. The opening line of the poem foregrounds the anger of achilles, which shapes so much of what happens in the iliad. an evolutionary perspective on the emotions would offer new insights, especially by way


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of robert frank’s brilliant demonstration, in Passions Within Reason, of the “rationality,” the advantage that may be gleaned, from the intensity and irrationality of emotions like anger, even if in particular circumstances the emotion can be elicited or sustained in unprofitable ways.5 a discussion of the variable forms in which honor expresses itself in different ecological conditions, like the high sensitivity to honor in dispersed pastoral societies such as those reflected in homer, would also be illuminating.6 achilles moves from unyielding anger against agamemnon as the appropriator of Briseis and then blind fury against hector as the killer of Patroclus to empathy and compassion for Priam, as the mourner of someone infinitely dear to him. empathy and the capacity to adopt the perspectives of others have been central in the work of prominent evolutionists like frans de Waal and Michael Tomasello.7 achilles’s unstinting love for Patroclus and his highly conditional alliance with agamemnon could be explored in terms of evolutionary analyses of male coalitional violence, and the tensions between cooperation and competition and their attendant emotions. evolutionary analyses of the social role of religion,8 and of the propensity to over-attribute agency and the memorability of minimally counter-intuitive features,9 should throw fresh light on the gods in homer. all these possible lines of inquiry, like gottschall’s own, would concentrate especially on the world depicted in the iliad. But evolutionary literary study need not focus only on the human behavior described in literary works. it may also track the literary process from composition to reception, asking what in an understanding of human nature as evolved does the composition draw on and attempt to appeal to, and what in human nature across the ages or in specific cultural milieus can explain responses to the iliad. if i were to tackle the iliad myself, this would be where i would especially focus. as i argue in general terms in On the Origin of Stories,10 and exemplify in my analysis of the Odyssey, evolutionary considerations throw special weight on the author’s problem situation in composition, and they define the primary problem as maximizing the attention of the desired audience. They also throw weight on audiences’ responses as partly convergent (because of our common human nature) and partly divergent (because of individual and cultural variation and differing individual purposes). Jonathan gottschall has told me that in some ways he thinks the epic of Gilgamesh more successfully secures and maintains at least his attention than does the iliad, with its massive scale and long set pieces and battle scenes. But the iliad has earned high attention for nearly three thousand years,

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both for its original audiences and for audiences very different from any homer could conceive of. What can we infer about the kind of audience homer attempted to appeal to, and the kind of competition for attention his poem would have first faced, and the ways he traded against one another the benefits and costs for himself and for his audience of particular modes of ensuring attention? What can we infer about what is common in the human nature that the iliad appeals to, and about the degrees of human difference, by analysing the responses of audiences recorded over two and a half thousand years? the Rape of troy is not primarily a manifesto for literary evolutionism, although gottschall and others, like Joseph Carroll, Brett Cooke, and i, have written these over the last fifteen years.11 it instead aims to demonstrate how much an evolutionary perspective can allow us to see about the behavior that gave rise to one major literary work. gottschall succeeds superbly in the former, although i am less sure that we can know of his success in describing the world in which homer lived. But what else might literary evolutionism offer? as i have suggested, evolutionary literary criticism can look at the literary process from composition to reception. although this is not his main concern, gottschall does this with relish and aplomb, as when he lists the varied forms of competition and violence or the varied images of humans in relation to beasts and gods. others who have written evolutionary literary criticism include Joseph Carroll, Brett Cooke, Judith Saunders, and in film, Joseph anderson.12 evolutionary considerations can make possible a comprehensive naturalistic literary theory from tribal tales and childhood pretend play to homer and Joyce, as in the work of Carroll, Marcus nordlund and myself.13 i cannot help thinking that evolutionary literary theory would have clarified for gottschall the looseness of the relation between behavior depicted in fiction and behavior experienced in real life, and between what may be the prevailing mood in a culture and the attitudes and purposes of a storyteller of genius. evolutionary literary studies can contribute to an understanding of human nature and of attitudes to human nature. gottschall draws on prior theory to provide an account of male human violence against other humans as a general (and deplorable) species proclivity, even if he is also interested in its variability across cultures and conditions. robin headlam Wells and Marcus nordlund have challenged the assumption that other eras manifested radically different human natures or denied the existence of a common human nature.14 Joseph Carroll makes central


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to his recent work the construction of an integrated model of human nature.15 This seems to me over-ambitious, an ongoing project but one that we have no reason to think we can soon wrap up, any more than we can expect imminently an integrated model of the cosmos from the Big Bang (if that is what it was) to superstrings (if they exist and are as far as we can go). after all, our main intellectual projects as human beings have always been to understand and imagine new possibilities for ourselves, and to understand and imagine new possibilities for the world we live in. evolution has added extremely powerful new lenses for our perception of ourselves but there is still much, much to learn. i think it more likely that rather than providing a tightly coherent and exhaustively comprehensive model of human nature, literary evolutionism can serve a critical role. are the models of human nature behind this critical project or that theoretical school plausible? Do these claims about cultural specificity not ignore common features evident not just across human eras and cultures but even across species? Does this critical school leave out a good deal of human nature that the texts it addresses in fact do not ignore? Does the focus of literary works post-Darwin and especially post-1980 incorporate Darwinian perspectives, and if so, how (see Brett Cooke on utopia),16 and if not, might they have cut deeper if they had (see Peter Swirski’s forthcoming work on eutopia)?17 Because literary evolutionism at its best pays close attention to work in evolutionary biology, psychology, anthropology, and economics, it naturally develops a respect for the power and the cumulative knowledge of the sciences. for that reason the foremost figures in the field, especially Carroll, its pioneer and standard-bearer, and gottschall, its young leader, have increasingly employed and advocated empirical methods, although other literary scholars like Willie van Peer and his associates have developed empirical methods first and an appreciation for evolutionary insights second. gottschall’s respect for hard evidence and sound method, in line with the best science, permeates the Rape of tory. after the bulk of the work for that volume, he undertook quantitative surveys of world folk literature to test cultural universals and variations across cultures, continents and levels of social complexity. he collected these in literature, Science, and a New humanities, where he also offers an eloquent manifesto for extending the range of tools available to literary studies to include the quantitative and experimental methods the sciences have refined.18 recently Carroll, gottschall, and the psychologists John Johnson and Daniel Kruger ran an internet-based

Brian Boyd


survey of responses to the characters of major nineteenth-century fiction in order to test hypotheses about the agonistic structure of fiction: the centrality of the conflict between positive and negative characters, between pro- and anti-social or cooperative and selfish motives, and what this core opposition suggests about the evolution of human cooperation and the emotions and behaviors that advance it, and the role the literary imagination plays in its development.19 another way in which literary evolutionism has responded to the power of scientific method to extend knowledge has been simply to appropriate results and concepts from relevant sciences. Literary evolutionists naturally avail themselves of the findings and models from evolutionary biology, from game theory and parental investment to foraging theory. They should also pay more attention, as i have tried to do, to research in other branches of psychology dependent on empirical method and commensurate with, and highly convergent with, evolutionary considerations. This includes the work of cognitive and evolutionary linguists like James hurford and arie verhagen;20 research on memory and on the relationship between memory and imagination, by Daniel Schachter and his associates;21 Stanislas Dehaene’s work on the relationship between reading and the evolved mind;22 research into the effects of fiction on the mind, by Keith oatley and associates;23 developmental psychology’s work on children’s emerging understanding of events and their emerging proclivity toward pretend play, imagined companions, and storytelling;24 Joan Peskin and others on the psychology of developing literary competence;25 and clinical psychology’s analyses of the problems in social and narrative and comprehension in those with asperger spectrum disorders.26 Perhaps the most ambitious goal of literary evolutionists has been to help realize e. o. Wilson’s goal of consilience: a consistent set of explanations from the simplest particles to the most complex physical structures we know, human brains, and the most complex behaviors we know, and the least constrained by the world of physical necessity, artistic creation.27 Cooke, Carroll, and gottschall, have eloquently argued for a seamless explanatory system uniting knowledge across even this enormous ontological range. gottschall has expressed misgivings about literary criticism as an enterprise, and has helped demonstrate and extend possibilities beyond criticism in evolutionary literary study. But literary criticism like the Rape of troy can shine the powerful light of evolution to illuminate in


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new ways even a classic discussed more than any other for two and half millennia. i hope gottschall heeds the lesson of his own success, and continues as a literary critic as well as a theorist and empiricist. university of auckland

1. Brett Cooke, human Nature in Utopia: Zamyatin’s We (evanston: northwestern university Press, 2002). 2. robert Trivers, “Parental investment and Sexual Selection,” in Sexual Selection and the descent of Man 1871–1971, ed. B. Campbell (Chicago: aldine, 1972), pp. 136–207. 3. William Deresiewicz, “adaptation: on Literary Darwinism,” the Nation, 8 June 2009. 4. hans van Wees, “introduction: homer and early greece,” in irene de Jong, ed., homer: Critical assessments, 4 vols. (London: routledge, 1999), vol 2, p. 11. 5. robert frank, Passions within Reason: the Strategic Role of the emotions (new york: norton, 1988). 6. richard e. nisbett and Dov Cohen, Culture of honor: the Psychology of Violence in the South (Boulder: Westview, 1996); Peter J. richerson and robert Boyd, Not by Genes alone: how Culture transformed human evolution (Chicago: university of Chicago Press, 2005). 7. frans de Waal, Good-Natured: the Origins of Right and Wrong in humans and Other animals (Cambridge: harvard university Press, 1996) and the age of empathy: Nature’s lessons for a Kinder Society (new york: harmony, 2009); M. Tomasello, M. Carpenter, J. Call, T. Behne, and h. Moll, “understanding and Sharing intentions: The origins of Cultural Cognition,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2005): 675–735; Michael Tomasello, Origins of human Communication (Cambridge: Bradford/MiT, 2008). 8. David Sloan Wilson, darwin’s Cathedral: evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society (Chicago: university of Chicago Press, 2003). 9. Justin L. Barrett, anthropomorphism, intentional agents, and Conceptualizing God (ithaca: Cornell university Press, 1996) and Why Would anyone Believe in God? (Lanham: altamira, 2004), Pascal Boyer, Religion explained: the evolutionary Origins of Religious thought (new york: Basic Books, 2001), and Scott atran, in Gods We trust: the evolutionary landscape of Religion (new york: oxford university Press, 2002). 10. Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: evolution, Cognition, and Fiction (Cambridge: Belknap Press of harvard university Press, 2009). 11. See, e.g., Jonathan gottschall, “The Tree of Knowledge and Darwinian Literary Study,” Philosophy and literature 27 (2003): 255–68; Joseph Carroll, evolution and literary theory (Columbia: university of Missouri Press, 1995) and literary darwinism: evolution, human Nature, and literature (new york: routledge, 2004); Brett Cooke and frederick

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Turner, eds., Biopoetics: evolutionary explorations in the arts (Lexington, Kentucky: international Conference on the unity of the Sciences, 1999); Brian Boyd, “Literature and evolution: a Biocultural approach,” Philosophy and literature 29 (2005): 1–23. 12. See, for these and others, and a bibliography, Brian Boyd, Joseph Carroll, and Jonathan gottschall, eds., evolution, literature, and Film: a Reader (new york: Columbia university Press, 2010). 13. Carroll, literary darwinism; Boyd, On the Origin of Stories; and Marcus nordlund, “Consilient Literary interpretation,” Philosophy and literature 26 (2002): 312–33. 14. robin headlam Wells, Shakespeare’s humanism (Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 2005), and Marcus nordlund, Shakespeare and the Nature of love: love: literature, Culture, evolution (evanston: northwestern university Press, 2007). 15. Carroll, literary darwinism; “an evolutionary Paradigm for Literary Study,” Style 42 (2008): 103–35. 16. See note 1 above.

17. Peter Swirski, american eutopia and Social engineering: Fiction and experience, 1945–2005, forthcoming. 18. Jonathan gottschall, literature, Science, and a New humanities (new york: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). 19. Joseph Carroll, Jonathan gottschall, John Johnson, and Daniel Kruger, Graphing Jane austen: Paleolithic Politics in British Nineteenth-Century Fiction, forthcoming. 20. James r. hurford, the Origins of Meaning: language in the light of evolution (oxford: oxford university Press, 2007); arie verhagen, “Construal and Perspectivization,” in Dirk geeraerts and huybert Cuyckens, eds., the Oxford handbook of Cognitive linguistics (oxford: oxford, 2007), pp. 48–81. 21. Daniel L. Schachter, Donna rose addis, and randy L. Buckner, “episodic Simulation of future events: Concepts, Data, and applications,” annals of the New York academy of Sciences 1124 (2008): 39–60. 22. Stanislas Deheane, Reading in the Brain: the Science and evolution of a human invention (new york: viking, 2009). 23. raymond a. Mar, Maja Djikic, and Keith oatley, “effects of reading on Knowledge, Social abilities, and Selfhood,” in S. Zyngier, M. Bortolussi, a. Chesnokova, & J. auracher, eds., directions in empirical Studies in literature: in honor of Willie van Peer (amsterdam: Benjamins, 2008), pp. 127–37. 24. See for references in Boyd, Origin, chaps. 9–12.

25. Joan Peskin, “The Development of Poetic Literacy During the School years,” discourse Processes, forthcoming. 26. rebecca Saxe and Simon Baron-Cohen, eds., theory of Mind, special issue of Social Neuroscience, 2006 (hove: Psychology Press, 2007). 27. e. o. Wilson, Consilience: the Unity of Knowledge (new york: vintage, 1999).

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