Recent Essays


Theoretical Essays


1. “Literature as a Human Universal,” in Grenzen der Literatur: Zu Begriff und Phänomen des Literarischen, edited by Fotis Jannidis, Gerhard Lauer, and Simone Winko (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009): 142-60.

2. “Three Scenarios for Literary Darwinism,” New Literary History 41 (2010): 53-67. (Reprinted in Reading Human Nature, with expurgated passages restored. )

3. "Imagining Human Nature," in Evolution, Literature, and Film: A Reader, edited by Brian Boyd, Joseph Carroll, and Jonathan Gottschall (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010): 211-18.

4. “The Adaptive Function of the Arts: Alternative Evolutionary Hypotheses,” in Literature und Evolution, edited by Carsten Gansel and Dirk Vanderbeke (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012): 50-63.

5.  “The Truth about Fiction: Biological Reality and Imaginary Lives,” Style 46.2 (2012): 129-60. 

6. “Teaching Literary Darwinism,” Style 47.2 (2013): 206-38.


Interpretive Essays


1. “Aestheticism, Homoeroticism, and Christian Guilt in The Picture of Dorian Gray: A Darwinian Critique,” Philosophy and Literature 29 (2005): 286-304. (Reprinted in Reading Human Nature and in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, vol. 272, Gale Group.)

2. “The Cuckoo’s History: Human Nature in Wuthering Heights,” Philosophy and Literature 32 (2008): 241-57. (Reprinted in Reading Human Nature)

3. “Intentional Meaning in Hamlet: An Evolutionary Perspective,” Style 44 (2010): 230-60. (Reprinted in Reading Human Nature)

4. “The Extremes of Conflict in Literature: Violence, Homicide, and War,” in The Oxford Handbook of Violence, Homicide, and War, edited by Todd Shackelford (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012): 413-34.

5. “An Evolutionary Perspective on King Lear,” in Critical Insights: Family, edited by John Knapp (Ipswich, MA: EBSCO, 2012): 83-103.

6.  "Meaning and Effect in Fiction: A Model of Interpretation Illustrated with a Reading of ‘Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,’” Style 46.3 (2012): 297-316.

7.  “Correcting for The Corrections: A Darwinian Critique of a Foucauldian Novel,” Style 47.1 (2013): 87-118.

8.  “Violence in Literature: An Evolutionary Perspective,” in Evolution of Violence, edited by Todd K. Shackelford and Ranald D. Hansen (New York: Springer, 2013) 33-52.


            Essay Reviews


1. “Human Life History and Gene-Culture Co-Evolution: An Emerging Paradigm,” a review of Nicholas Wade’s Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors, Richard Wrangham’s Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, and Gregory Cochran’s and Henry Harpending’s The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, in The Evolutionary Review: Art, Science, Culture 2 (2011): 23-37.

2.  “Dutton, Davies, and Imaginative Virtual Worlds: The Current State of Evolutionary Aesthetics,” a review of Denis Dutton’s The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution and Stephen Davies’s The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution, in Aisthesis 6.2 (2013): 81-93.



                Historical Essays


1. “The Historical Position of Literary Darwinism,” Forbes, February 5, 2009.

2. “The Science Wars in a Long View: Putting the Human in Its Place,” in Interdisciplinary Essays on Darwinism in Hispanic Literature and Film: The Intersection of Science and the Humanities, edited by Jerry Hoeg and Kevin S. Larsen (Lewiston, NY: Edward Mellen Press, 2009):

3. “A Darwinian Revolution in the Humanities,” Politics and Culture 2010, issue 1: .  


                Personal Essays


1. Interview with David DiSalvo, Neuronarrative,, posted February 27, 2009.

2. “Denis Dutton, Universal Connoisseur.” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 24, 2011, B 20.