Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hsu, Jeremy. "Why Dead Authors Can Thrill Modern Readers." LIVE SCIENCE April 15, 2009.

Classic stories still retain their storytelling power centuries later, and smart remakes do well to retain much of the original plot. That's the case in a new literary mash-up, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," where Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy take time away from courtship to hone their martial arts skills on the walking dead – a twist welcomed by both critics and "Janeite" fans of British author Jane Austen. Such fascination with stories has compelled a small group of researchers to mine theories in evolutionary biology and psychology, in hopes of finding a connection between storytelling and the evolved human mind. Most agree that stories represent products of humanity's highly social existence, but debate rages over whether stories themselves may have evolved as an adaptation or social byproduct. Their early findings could help explain why the best stories endure, and why remakes can find success despite seemingly retreading old ground. After all, Austen and other beloved storytellers may have found the sweet spot in tickling the social sensibilities of a modern mind not far removed from early Homo sapiens, let alone 19th-century British society. . . . Read the rest here:

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