March 28, 2009
Speaking of the glossy magazine effect — who in the world is working as the official or unofficial publicist for the Darwinian literary critics? There’s another write-up of this non-phenomenon, this time in Newsweek. The writer, Jeremy McCarty, is appropriately critical, which is why I’m linking to it.
But let me reiterate — this stuff is nonsense, bad science and bad aesthetics. Only about ten relatively marginal people care about it, even if one of them happens to be Arts & Letters Daily /Philosophy and Literature editor Denis Dutton. Serious research on the relationship between psychology and aesthetics could be so good. This is not serious.
Why this half-baked not-quite-research program commands so much attention in academic and popular journalism instead of any one of a dozen honestly legitimate movements in contemporary literature and language studies will forever elude me.