Story of Evolution/Evolution of Stories
Bryn Mawr College
April 24, 2007

Evolution: Biological and Literary and ...

From the Forum

I am now a firm believer in the evolution of literature. I think literature can be so completely generative. It can change and evolve in so many ways. However, I still can't say that biological evolution is exactly the same as literary evolution ... The evolution of literature still lacks the randomness for me ... although necessary in nature, it isn't a requirement for literature ... Christina Cunnane

I had always considered evolution as a process that is moved forward by innumerable random factors, while literature was the result of individual creativity. Now I understand literature to be the cumulative result of many factors outside of, and influencing, the authorŐs personal creativity, much like the story that I understand evolution to be. Because of this new perspective, as I read literature I am much more aware of all of the influences and antecedents that made the final work what it is today ... Elise Neimeyer

I remember blogging that I had lost my ability to enjoy literature while considering evolution. Though those sentiments were true with regards to the novels we have read since the beginning of the literature section, I find I am now more confused reading scientific texts ... One step in a positive direction does not illustrate the journey to come. In this way, On Beauty and Howards End have helped me to consider scientific evolution, because whereas in literature, we can often see to the end, there simply is no such concept in Science ... tbarryfigu

Seventy-two years later, we are still living in a country divided by conflicting religious and scientific beliefs. Evolution isnŐt/doesnŐt have to be a scary, depressing idea if adequate time is taken to explain its implications. So who is to blame for why the actual meaning of evolution is being lost in translation? Scientists? Well, I do think that scientists- for the most part- struggle with translating their discoveries into terms and concepts easily understandable and accessible to the public. But it isnŐt that simple. Perhaps, lack of true understanding develops from articles like ŇEvolution, on Broadway and Off,Ó which seem to just quote Ňon repeatÓ the same basic evidence and consistently fail to actually relate numerical evidence back into the meanings behind evolution ... EB Ver Hoeve

When I hear about the violence present in today's world ... I can't help but wonder if we've become desensitized to such violence. Yes, such news saddens me, but I don't find myself grieving. Maybe it's because I'm lucky enough thus far to have been spared from being directly impacted by such things that my reaction is so small, but I still find it... odd, I guess, that all I feel is a sort of indifferent numbness when I read the death tolls. Has the fact that we have all grown up in a time of increased accessibility to news in a way commoditized death? ... Elle Works

"He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart" (Probverbs 11:29)--that if you cause trouble @ home, you will end up w/ nothing. But my colleague had a wonderful alternative reading: that if you stir up trouble, you will have the wind @ your back, a force to drive you forward into the future. Interesting double meaning for the Scopes' conviction/McCarthy-era ramifications of the play, perhaps? A momentary set-back, and/but a long-term evolution? ... Anne Dalke

Andrea: "But you have contributed. Science has only one commandment: contribution"
Galileo: "I may be able to give you a few pointers as to the concerns of your chosen profession ... The practice of science would seem to call for valor. She trades in knowledge, which is the product of doubt ... The battle to measure the heavens is won by doubt; by credulity the Roman housewife's battle for milk will always be lost ... As a scientist I had an almost unique opportunity ... I surrendered my knowledge to the powers that be, to use it, no not use it, abuse it, as it suits their ends. I have betrayed my profession"
... Brecht's Galileo

"Galileo may have failed to live up to that ideal himself but he stands as an inspiration to others to try and become less wrong."

Onward to Evolution ... of the tomato?

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