‘What is emotion?’ pondered the young Charles Darwin in his notebooks. How were the emotions to be placed in an evolutionary framework? And what light might they shed on human-animal continuities? These were among the questions Darwin explored in his research, assisted both by an acute sense of observation and an extraordinary capacity for fellow feeling, not only with humans but with all animal life.
After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind explores questions of mind, emotion and the moral sense which Darwin opened up through his research on the physical expression of emotions and the human–animal relation. It also examines the extent to which Darwin’s ideas were taken up by Victorian writers and popular culture, from George Eliot to the
Daily News. Bringing together scholars from biology, literature, history, psychology, psychiatry and paediatrics, the volume provides an invaluable reassessment of Darwin’s contribution to a new understanding of the moral sense and emotional life, and considers the urgent scientific and ethical implications of his ideas today.
This book addresses the role and potential of literature in the process of contesting and re-evaluating concepts of nature and animality, describing one’s individual environment as the starting point for such negotiations. It employs the notion of the ‘literary event’ to discuss the specific literary quality of verbal art conceptualised as
EnvironMentality is grounded on the understanding that fiction does not explain or second scientific and philosophical notions but that it poses a fundamental challenge to any form of knowledge manifesting in processes determined by the human capacity to think beyond a given hermeneutic situation. Bartosch foregrounds the dialectics of understanding the other by means of literary interpretation in ecocritical readings of novels by Amitav Ghosh, Zakes Mda, Yann Martel, Margaret Atwood and J.M. Coetzee, arguing that
EnvironMentality helps us as readers of fiction to learn from the books we read that which can only be learned by means of reading: to “think like a mountain” (Aldo Leopold) and to know “what it is like to be a bat” (Thomas Nagel).