Reading Evolution

Read the chatscript from this session of #litchat here.

Few people would argue that literature is a major contributor to the development of society and culture. Novelist Jennifer Vanderbes takes the discussion a step further in “The Evolutionary Case for Fiction” (The Atlantic, Sept. 5, 2013). Vanderbes suggests that literary criticism within the storytelling tradition was a critical element for that evolutionary change.

In the New York Times Bookends column, Zoë Heller and Adam Kirsch ask, “Are Novelists Too Wary of Criticizing Other Novelists?” This essay, in light of Vanderbes claim, plays counterpoint in this week’s #litchat MediaMonday.

…the question is: Can storytelling increase offspring?

Charles Darwin proposed two theories of evolution: natural selection and sexual selection.  To affect species-wide change, a trait essentially has to help you live or get laid. ~Jennifer Vanderbes, The Atlantic

…the real reason for encouraging novelists to overcome their critical inhibitions is that their contributions help maintain the rigor and vitality of the public conversation about books.. ~ Zoë Heller, Bookends, The New York Times

At a time when few people care about literature, why waste precious time and space attacking a bad book when you could be celebrating a good one? Isn’t writing a bad review a kind of disservice to literature itself? ~Adam Kirsch, Bookends, The New York Times

Later This Week in #LitChat

WritingWednesday: Writing for Games

Guest Host Friday: Amalie Flynn, author of Wife & War: A Memoir