A Credo for a New Humanism
Out now from Harvard University Press, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction by Brian Boyd.
Michael Bérubé reviews it for American Scientist:
On the Origin of Stories attempts an evolutionary explanation of the appearance of art—and, more specifically, of the utility of fiction. From its title (with its obvious echo of Darwin) to its readings of The Odyssey and Horton Hears a Who!, Boyd’s book argues that the evolution of the brain (itself a development of some significance to the world) has slowly and fitfully managed to produce a species of primate whose members habitually try to entertain and edify one another by making stuff up.