Cover: On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction, from Harvard University PressCover: On the Origin of Stories in PAPERBACK

On the Origin of Stories

Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction

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Product Details


$24.50 • £19.95 • €22.00

ISBN 9780674057111

Publication Date: 11/15/2010


560 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

14 halftones

Belknap Press


  • Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Animal, Human, Art, Story
  • Book I: Evolution, Art, and Fiction
    • Part 1: Evolution and Nature
      • 1. Evolution and Human Nature?
      • 2. Evolution, Adaptation, and Adapted Minds
      • 3. The Evolution of Intelligence
      • 4. The Evolution of Cooperation
    • Part 2: Evolution and Art
      • 5. Art as Adaptation?
      • 6. Art as Cognitive Play
      • 7. Art and Attention
      • 8. From Tradition to Innovation
    • Part 3: Evolution and Fiction
      • 9. Art, Narrative, Fiction
      • 10. Understanding and Recalling Events
      • 11. Narrative: Representing Events
      • 12. Fiction: Inventing Events
      • 13. Fiction as Adaptation
  • Book II: From Zeus to Seuss: Origins of Stories
    • Part 4: Phylogeny: The Odyssey
      • 14. Earning Attention (1): Natural Patterns: Character and Plot
      • 15. Earning Attention (2): Open-Ended Patterns: Ironies of Structure
      • 16. The Evolution of Intelligence (1): In the Here and Now
      • 17. The Evolution of Intelligence (2): Beyond the Here and Now
      • 18. The Evolution of Cooperation (1): Expanding the Circle
      • 19. The Evolution of Cooperation (2): Punishment
    • Part 5: Ontogeny: Horton Hears a Who!
      • 20. Problems and Solutions: Working at Play
      • 21. Levels of Explanation: Universal, Local, and Individual
      • 22. Levels of Explanation: Individuality Again
      • 23. Levels of Explanation: Particular
      • 24. Meanings
  • Conclusion: Retrospect and Prospects: Evolution, Literature, Criticism
  • Afterword: Evolution, Art, Story, Purpose
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Awards & Accolades

  • A New Zealand Listener Best Book of 2009
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