The Story of Evolution and
See our final performances 
Welcome to the home page of a Biology and English course
offered @ Bryn Mawr College in Spring 2011,
by Anne Dalke and Paul Grobstein, TTh 2:15-3:45, in English House Lecture Hall
"There is grandeur in this view of life...that...from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." (Charles Darwin, On The Origin of Species)
|We will experiment, in this course, with two interrelated and reciprocal inquiries: whether the biological concept of evolution is a useful one in understanding the phenomena of literature (in particular: the generation of new stories), and whether literature contributes to a deeper understanding of evolution. We will begin with an exploration of the basis for the "story" of evolution as developed by biologists, move on to a consideration of the relevance of the concept of evolution for making sense of other bodies of information and observations, and then turn to a consideration of one literary story growing out of another. We will ask repeatedly: Where do stories (scientific and literary) come from? Why do new ones emerge? What causes them to change? Why do (must?) some of them disappear? We will consider the parallels between diversity of stories and diversity of living organisms, and think about what new insights into evolution and literature emerge from such considerations.
This course is predicated on an assumption that progress on the sorts of questions being considered here is significant not only in the classroom but in a broader human context as well. Hence, the course is organized to contribute to public conversation, both by having a weekly on-line forum and by the on-line publication of course materials, including student papers. In considering the appropriateness of the course for their own educational objectives, students should be aware of this assumption and associated arrangements, and of the implications and obligations of engaging in a public arena, where individuals are responsible not only for their own education but that of others as well.
The images on these pages are reproduced with permission of Rieko Nakamura and Toshihiro Anzai; you can see a complete display of their work at http://www.renga.com  which also explains that "Renga, or Linked Image, is a new methodology of image creation in the digital era. It was given birth at the intersection of art, telecommunication network and multimedia. Renga artists share and exchange computer graphics art works on telecommunication network. An image will turn into a new piece by going through modification and transformation applied by a different artist, thus creating a series of growing imagery."