BOOK: Madame Bovary's Ovaries: A Darwinian Look At Literature
AUTHOR(S): David P. Barash and Nanelle R. Barash
"In Madame Bovery's Ovaries, we merge two worlds, literature and science, showing how fiction can be illuminated by the single most important idea in biology (evolution) newly applied to human behavior."
Now, For some interesting facts:
-Aristotle once claimed that objects accelerate as they fall because they become increasingly "jubilant" as they approach the earth.
-At one time, Talmudic scholars entertained such an overblown estimate of women's sexuality (and society's responsibility to repress it) that widows were forbidden to keep male dogs as pets!
-Among some species of bees, males actually explode after mating; they die in the process, but only after converting themselves into a postmortem chastity belt by jamming part of their genitalia into that of their lady love.
David and his daughter, Nanelle, Barash have compiled an excellently written and incredibly fascinating literary critic - the first of its' kind to use the theory of evolution to analyze literary characters and plots. While looking at literature through the lens of biology seemed strange and unlikely when I began the book, the findings are eye opening and have more than a little credibility. The Barash's pick apart everything from Henry Fielding's Tom Jones to Bridget Jones and her diary; thereby seamlessly blending classics and pop culture.
The result is an entertaining, enlightening, and thought provoking exploration into all our classics; seen through an entirely new lens. I would recommend Madame Bovary's Ovaries to all literature buffs and to those for whom reading is more than just a pastime - but an exploration into life's themes.