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Edited by Dirk Vanderbeke and Brett Cooke

The contributors to this volume share the assumption that popular narrative, when viewed with an evolutionary lens, offers us an incisive index into human nature. In theory, narrative art could take a near infinity of possible forms, but in actual practice particular motifs, plot patterns, stereotypical figures, and artistic devices persistently resurface, indicating specific predilections frequently at odds with actual living conditions. The papers explore various media and genres to gauge the impact of our evolutionary inheritance, in interdependence with the respective cultural environments, on our aesthetic appreciation. They also suggest that research into mass culture is indispensable for evolutionary criticism and that it may contribute to discussions of the prehistoric conditions 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.