The contributors to this volume share the assumption that popular narrative, when viewed with an evolutionary lens, offers an incisive index into human nature. In theory, narrative art could take a near infinity of possible forms. In actual practice, however, particular motifs, plot patterns, stereotypical figures, and artistic devices persistently resurface, indicating specific predilections frequently at odds with our actual living conditions. Our studies explore various media and genres to gauge the impact of our evolutionary inheritance, in interdependence with the respective cultural environments, on our aesthetic appreciation. As they suggest, research into mass culture is not only indispensable for evolutionary criticism but may also contribute to our understanding of prehistoric selection pressures that still influence modern preferences in popular narrative.
Contributions by David Andrews, James Carney, Mathias Clasen, Brett Cooke, Tamás Dávid-Barrett, Tom Dolack, Kathryn Duncan, Isabel Behncke Izquierdo, Joe Keener, Alex C. Parrish, Todd K. Platts, Anna Rotkirch, Judith P. Saunders, Michelle Scalise Sugiyama, Dirk Vanderbeke, and Sophia Wege.
Published twice annually, the
Journal of Avant-Garde Studies is an interdisciplinary forum for critical discussion of the experimental, the outrageous, and the unclassifiable in the arts and literature, from the heyday of modernism to today. The perspective is global, the theoretical approaches are diverse, and the eligible subjects range from the famous to the forgotten.
JAGS seeks to broaden and enrich our history of the vanguard.
This collection of essays centers on musical elements that authors have employed in their work, thus joining heard sounds to a visual perception of their stories. The spectrum of authors represented is a wide one, from Pound to Durrell, from Steinbeck to Cather, from Beckett to Gaines, but even more unusual is the variety of musical type represented. Classical music (the quartet, the fugue, the symphony), Jazz (the jazz riff and jazz improv) and the spiritual all appear along with folk song and so-called random “noise.” Such diversity suggests that there are few limits when readers consider how great writers utilize musical styles and techniques. Indeed, each author seems to realize that it is not the type of music that s/he chooses to employ that is important. Rather, it is the realization that such musical elements as harmony, dissonance, tonal repetition and beat are just as important in prose composition as they are in poetry and song. The essayists have selected some works that may be considered obscure and some that are modern classics. Each one, however, has captured one of the varied ways in which words and music complement and enhance each other.