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Jonathan Gottschall

Jonathan Gottschall is an American literary scholar, the leading younger figure in literature and evolution. He teaches at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. He completed graduate work in English at State University of New York at Binghamton, where he worked under David Sloan Wilson.His work The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence and the World of Homer describes the Homeric epic poems Iliad and Odyssey in terms of evolutionary psychology, with the central violent conflicts in these works driven by the lack of young women to marry and the resulting evolutionary legacy, as opposed to the violent conflicts being driven by honor or wealth.Literature, Science and a New Humanities advocates that the humanities, and literary studies in particular, need to avail themselves of quantitative and objective methods of inquiry as well as the traditional qualitative and subjective, if they are to produce cumulative, progressive knowledge, and provides a number of case studies that apply quantitative methods to fairy and folk tale around the world to answer questions about human universals and differences.Gottschall was profiled by the New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His work was featured in an article in Science describing literature and evolution.



Mily Sieteidézett2 évvel ezelőtt
warns me that I am about to step into the jaws of the dragon he is slaying. I thank him. The bold fighter asks a question, and as I veer toward safety, I answer, “I’m sorry, buddy, I don’t know when your mom will be here.”

At the back of the room, two princesses are tucked in a nook made out of bookshelves. The princesses are sitting Indian-style in their finery, murmuring and laughing—but not with each other. They are both cradling babies on their laps and babbling to them, as mothers do. The small one with the yellow hair notices me. Leaping to her feet, she drops her baby on his head. “Daddy!” Annabel cries. She flies to me, and I sweep her into the air.

At about the age of one, something strange and magical buds in a child. It reaches full bloom at the age of three or four and begins to wilt by seven or eight. At one, a baby can hold a banana to her head like a phone or pretend to put a teddy bear to bed. At two, a toddler can cooperate in simple dramas, where the child is the bus driver and the mother is the passenger, or where the father is the child and the child is the father. Two-year-olds also begin learning how to develop a character. When playing the king, they pitch their voices differently than when they are playing the queen or the meowing cat. At three or four, children enter into the golden age of pretend play, and for three or four more years, they will be masters of romps, riots, and revels in the land of make-believe.

Children adore art by nature, not nurture. Around the world, those with access to drawing materials develop skills in regular
Mily Sieteidézett2 évvel ezelőtt
Children adore music by nature. I remember how my own one-year-olds would stand and “dance” to a tune: smiling toothlessly, bobbing their huge heads, flailing their hands. And by nature children thrill to fictions in puppet shows, TV cartoons, and the storybooks they love to tatters.

To children, though, the best thing in life is play: the exuberance of running and jumping and wrestling and all the danger and splendor of pretend worlds. Children play at story by instinct. Put small children in a room together, and you will see the spontaneous creation of art. Like skilled improv performers, they will agree on a dramatic scenario and then act it out, frequently breaking character to adjust the scenario and trade performance notes.
Mily Sieteidézett2 évvel ezelőtt
Children don’t need to be tutored in story. We don’t need to bribe them to make stories like we bribe them to eat broccoli. For children, make-believe is as automatic and insuppressible as their dreams. Children pretend even when they don’t have enough to eat, even when they live in squalor. Children pretended in Auschwitz.

Why are children creatures of story?

To answer this question, we need to ask a broader one first: why do humans tell stories at all? The answer may seem obvious: stories give us joy. But it isn’t obvious that stories should give us joy, at least not in the way it’s biologically obvious that eating or sex should give us joy. It is the joy of story that needs explaining.
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