Fiction & Humor

The Darwin Conspiracy

by John Darnton
New York: Random House, 2005. 320 pages.

The publisher writes, "Darnton's richly dramatic narrative ... unfolds through three vivid points of view: Darwin's own as he sails around the world aboard the Beagle; his daughter Lizzie's as she strives to understand the guilt and fear that struck her father at the height of his fame; and that of present-day anthropologist Hugh Kellem and Darwin scholar Beth Dulcimer, whose obsession with Darwin (and with each other) drives them beyond the accepted boundaries of scholarly research. What Hugh and Beth discover ...

Mr Darwin's Shooter

by Roger McDonald
New York: Penguin, 1998. 384 pages.

In Mr Darwin's Shooter, Roger McDonald — one of Australia's most acclaimed novelists — tells the story of Syms Covington, the sixteen-year-old sailor, fiddler, and odd-job man on the Beagle who became Darwin's full-time assistant, helping him collect and preserve the specimens on which the theory of evolution was based. Much later, living in rural Australia, Covington is awaiting the publication of the Origin of Species, dreading its implications for his devout religious faith but also wondering what of him will be reflected in Darwin's work.

The Origin

by Irving Stone
New York: Doubleday, 1980. 743 pages.

Known for his popular biographical novels of the famous, including Vincent van Gogh (Lust for Life), Michelangelo (The Agony and the Ecstasy), and Clarence Darrow (For the Defense), Irving Stone spent five years working on The Origin, living in or near Darwin's abodes in Shropshire, Shrewsbury, and London, and even traveling to the Galápagos.

The Evolution of Jane

by Cathleen Schine
New York: Plume, 1999. 224 pages.

From the publisher: "[T]he Galápagos Islands are home to diverse species of exotic wildlife — and tourists of every stripe and feather. It is here that Jane Barlow Schwartz embarks on a quest as urgent as Charles Darwin's one hundred and fifty years before: to find out why her childhood friendship with her cousin and soul-mate Martha ended; and what unknown event, family feud, or unintended slight caused the happiest part of her life to become extinct. Along the way ...

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.

Darwin's Plots (second edition)

by Gillian Beer
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 312 pages.

Subtitled "Evolutionary narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and nineteenth-century fiction," Beer's classic work of literary criticism (first published in 1983) begins with a discussion of the literary influences on Darwin, manifest in his use of language and his narrative language strategy in the Origin, and then proceeds to consider Darwin's influence on nineteenth-century fiction, particularly the novels of George Eliot and Thomas Hardy.

Literary Darwinism

by Joseph Carroll
New York: Routledge, 2004. 304 pages.

Joseph Carroll is the leading light of the emerging movement of literary Darwinism, and Literary Darwinism collects his essays on such topics as evolution and literary theory, biology and poststructuralism, and the deep structure of literary representations, as well as discussions of authors as diverse as Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, Matthew Arnold and Thomas Hardy, and Steven Pinker and Stephen Jay Gould. E.O.

The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative

edited by Jonathan Gottschall and David Sloan Wilson
Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005. 304 pages.

From the publisher: "The volume brings together scholars from the forefront of the new field of evolutionary literary analysis — both literary analysts who have made evolution their explanatory framework and evolutionist scientists who have taken a serious interest in literature — to show how the human propensity for literature and art can be properly framed as a true evolutionary problem.

Dar and the Spear-Thrower

by Marjorie Cowley
New York: Clarion Books, 1996. 188 pages.

Written by the creator of a 30-hour curriculum on Prehistoric People and Their World, this story is set in Southern France, 15,000 years ago. A coming of age story that is especially appealing to sixth graders, the book is rich in details about the daily life and technology of prehistoric hunter-gatherers. The novel and accompanying teachers' guide are also designed to "get students to think like archaeologists." Grades 5–7. Approved for use in teaching 6th grade prehistory in California.