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Jonathan Gottschall

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Title: Jonathan Gottschall  
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Subject: David Sloan Wilson, Gottschall, Darwinian literary studies, Vimeo, BBC Darwin Season, Joseph Carroll (scholar)
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Jonathan Gottschall

Jonathan Gottschall
Photo by Sam Fee
Residence Washington, Pennsylvania[1]
Fields literature and evolution
Institutions Washington & Jefferson College
Alma mater State University of New York at Binghamton[2]
Doctoral advisor David Sloan Wilson[3]
Spouse married[1]
Children 2 daughters[1]

Jonathan Gottschall is an American literary scholar specializing in literature and evolution. He teaches at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania.[4][1] He completed graduate work in English at State University of New York at Binghamton,[2] where he worked under David Sloan Wilson.[3]

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.[5]

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[6] and The Chronicle of Higher Education.[7] His work was featured in an article in Science describing literature and evolution.[3]

Gottschall's latest book, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (Houghton Mifflin 2012), is about the evolutionary mystery of storytelling--about the way we shape stories, and stories shape us.[8] According to a review by the The Virginian-Pilot said "Gottschall assesses and accounts for that powerful narrative attraction in a compelling chronicle of his own...and it is a certifiable knee-slap, three-pipe, blue-moon ripsnorter.[9]

List of works

  • The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (2005) – edited with David Sloan Wilson. ISBN 978-0810122864
  • The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence and the World of Homer (2008)
  • Literature, Science and a New Humanities (2008)
  • Evolution, Literature and Film: A Reader (2010) – co-edited with Brian Boyd and Joseph Carroll.
  • The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make us Human (2012) ISBN 978-0547391403

External links

  • Jonathan Gottschall's Web Page


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