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Madame Bovary's Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at Literature

by David Barash and Nanelle Barash
New York: Delacorte, 2005. 272 pages.

"[L]iterature is life written down," contend the authors of Madam Bovary's Ovaries, a psychologist, specializing in evolutionary psychology, at the University of Washington and his daughter, currently studying literature and biology at Swarthmore College. "Accordingly, literary critics — and, more important, garden-variety readers — should profit by adding the cardinal principle of the life sciences to their armamentarium." Taking on the canon from Homer to Saul Bellow, they offer what the reviewer for Publishers Weekly describes as "a surprisingly lighthearted romp through both literature and the animal kingdom, aimed at a casual reader who's interested in either or both."