Story of Evolution/Evolution of Stories
Bryn Mawr College
March 27, 2007

Is Biology Useful for Literary Studies, and Vice Versa?
An Exploration of Generativity

"Only connect" ... what to what, why?, can it be done?

"see it steadily, see it whole" ... what? how? can it be done?

"prose and passion" ... narrative and non-narrative?

"Paying attention to anything alien can be like listening to a foreign language. There may be logic latent in the sounds, but it is not evident to untrained ears ... This is one reason we so persist in trying to find order, even when it is not first apparent. It is almost a faith in science, psychology, religion and art: an unshakable conviction that some pattern will be found ... herein lies the very work of a culture: to shape a rigorous order that can hold threatening outside forces at bay ..." ... Texts That Run Rings Around Everday Linear Logic

From the Forum
When we listened to the clips of classical music and closed our eyes, people shared such different reactions and stories they had each built to the music. Yet we listened to the same notes at the same time in the same scenario ... Rebecca Farber a key component of morality is continuity, or connection, between one's thoughts and one's actions ... Jenn Dodwell

It's interesting to think about what it is- who we are, where we've come from- whatever it is that's influenced our minds to interpret music- or try to associate it- with certain things ... Karen Ginsburgl

It seems I have forgotten how to read a novel. Or perhaps, I have forgotten how to enjoy a novel, and I can't help but feel it is the fault of this class. If meaning is truly meaningless (as it is the product of random chance) why do I rack my brain for substantial evidence of the contrary? ... tbarryfigu

Why, at the time of “Howard’s End” are people more concerned with class than now? Does that mean that our need to generalize today is not as great as it was in pre WWI England, or do we use other things, besides class, to generalize? ... SarahMalayaSniezek

“Are the sexes really races, each with its own code of morality, and their mutual love a mere device of Nature to keep things going? ... [Margaret] knew that out of Nature's device we have built a magic that will win us immortality. Far more mysterious than the call of sex to sex is the tenderness that we throw into that call; far wider is the gulf between us and the farmyard than between the farmyard and the garbage that nourishes it. We are evolving, in ways that Science cannot measure, to ends that Theology dares not contemplate.”

Its interesting that Forster links this form of morality with sex because in the natural world sex is used for the good of evolution (to pass on ones on genes). It’s hard to say that it is morally wrong (immoral) or that it implies misconduct of any sort ... based on what I know of the animal kingdom sex is extremely important and is unlikely to be considered an immoral act (in fact it may be incorporated into the “social rules” primates are said to adhere to) ... ekorn

I don’t find the majority of the characters in Howard’s End to be ‘moral’. Maybe the problem is that they all have different ideas about morality and none is moral in the eyes of another. “Only connect…” may be Forster’s way of urging us to recognize one another with compassion before passing judgment ... Danielle

Forster is suggesting that moral clarity can only be achieved through connecting, not between two individuals, but within oneself ... While Forster may not be saying that people more associated with prose or passion are superior, just as the merits of intellectuals and practicals are mixed, he may be suggesting that a connection between the two is important ... Surely, it is better to connect practicality and emotion, to see life both whole and steady, than to break everything up into discrete and meaningless units ... Elise

To me it seems that in Howard's End the characters place too strong an emphasis on the importance of culture and intellect, and to that extent that it is overrated and almost frivolous, though such things are not... Trinh

There is an underlying mystery in Howard's Edn that I can not quite figure out ... azambetti

I don't know how I feel about [Mr. Wilcox] yet ... tbarryfigu

It kind of bugs me how Paul and Helen couldn't possibly have a relationship, but Mr. Wilcox and Margaret can. I'm beginning to wonder how different their relationships really are ... Megan Smith


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