Comeuppance

Comeuppance : Costly Signaling, Altruistic Punishment, and Other Biological Components of Fiction

4.15 (19 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

With Comeuppance, William Flesch delivers the freshest, most generous thinking about the novel since Walter Benjamin wrote on the storyteller and Wayne C. Booth on the rhetoric of fiction. In clear and engaging prose, Flesch integrates evolutionary psychology into literary studies, creating a new theory of fiction in which form and content flawlessly intermesh.

Fiction, Flesch contends, gives us our most powerful way of making sense of the social world. Comeuppance begins with an exploration of the appeal of gossip and ends with an account of how we can think about characters and care about them as much as about persons we know to be real. We praise a storyteller who contrives a happy or at least an appropriate ending, and fault the writer who refuses us one. Flesch uses Darwinian theory to show how fiction satisfies our desire to see the good vindicated and the wicked get their comeuppance. He conveys the danger and excitement of reading fiction with nimble intelligence and provides wide reference to stories both familiar and little known.

Flesch has given us a book that is sure to claim a central place in the discussion of literature and the humanities.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 264 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 0674032284
  • 9780674032286
  • 1,095,106

Review quote

"Comeuppance by William Flesch is a surprising excursus into what I might have thought an impossible project. What Flesch undertakes with skill and cunning is what might be called the conversion of sociobiology into its aesthetic analogs. By means of this transposition, we are given a surprisingly fresh account of the workings of high literature." - Harold Bloom "Flesch's book is at once authoritative and flexible, intellectually adventurous and careful. It is hard to imagine a reader who would not learn from its arresting arguments or take pleasure in the freshness of its juxtapositions. This is a book of immense originality and energy. Flesch opens up - for literary critics of every persuasion - new ways of thinking about the books they love." - Nick Halpern, author of Everyday and Prophetic"
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About William Flesch

William Flesch is Professor of English Literature at Brandeis University and author of Generosity and the Limits of Authority.
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Rating details

19 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 42% (8)
4 37% (7)
3 16% (3)
2 5% (1)
1 0% (0)
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