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Human Nature: Fact and Fiction: Literature, Science and Human Nature Paperback – May 30, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0826485465 ISBN-10: 0826485464 Edition: annotated edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; annotated edition edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826485464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826485465
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.7 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,677,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

To follow

(A) fascinating collection of essays.
The result of a 2004 smposium that tried ti bridge the putative chasm between the science and the arts, Human Nature offers some intriguing insights.
(The Guardian)

A little book that packs a lot of punch.
(T)his book provides some genuinely new thought, incorporating evloution, culture, imagination, literature and genes. A heady mix.

However where the real interest lies is in determining where these multiple perpectives align...being more anaylsis than synthesis, Human Nature allows its readers to find this golden section for themselves - a point that makes this book really stand out from the crowd.
(Ros Sitwell Morning Star)

'Full of illuminating and stimulating insights ... it is precisely the purpose, and value, of this endlessly stimulating volume that it instigate a much-needed debate.' Institute of Ideas - Culture Wars website

(Simon Cooke)

"... the book contains many sensitive and sensible little essays."
(Simon Blackburn Financial Times)

'The book is thought-provoking, cloying, rewarding, and irritating in turn, as scientists intersperse insight into, and ham-fisted respect for the significance of literature to human self-understanding, and as novelists and literary theorists exploit scientific ideas for literary adaptation. The editors juxtapose papers by scientific and literary experts so as to highlight both the contrasts and similarities in views between the two cultures.'
Australian Review of Public Affairs, 'Scientific and Literary Musings on Who or What we Are', Susan Dodds, 28/08/2006


A little book that packs a lot of punch.
(T)his book provides some genuinely new thought, incorporating evloution, culture, imagination, literature and genes. A heady mix.

However where the real interest lies is in determining where these multiple perpectives align...being more anaylsis than synthesis, Human Nature allows its readers to find this golden section for themselves - a point that makes this book really stand out from the crowd.
(Sanford Lakoff Morning Star)

'Full of illuminating and stimulating insights ... it is precisely the purpose, and value, of this endlessly stimulating volume that it instigate a much-needed debate.' Institute of Ideas - Culture Wars website

(Sanford Lakoff)

"... the book contains many sensitive and sensible little essays."
(Sanford Lakoff Financial Times)

About the Author

Robin Headlam Wells is Emeritus Professor of Renaissance Literature at Roehampton University, London. His publications include Elizabethan Mythologies (Cambridge University Press, 1994), Shakespeare on Masculinity (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and Shakespeare's Humanism (Cambridge University Press, 2005).Johnjoe McFadden is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey.

More About the Author

Johnjoe McFadden was born in Donegal, Ireland but brought up in the UK. He obtained his PhD at Imperial College London and went on to work on human genetic diseases and then infectious diseases, at the University of Surrey in Guildford, UK. For more than a decade, Professor McFadden has specialised in examining the genetics of microbes such as the agents of tuberculosis and meningitis. He has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals on subjects as wide-ranging as bacterial genetics, tuberculosis, idiopathic diseases and computer modelling of evolution and has edited a book on the genetics of mycobacteria. He has lectured extensively in the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan and his work has been featured in radio, television and national newspaper articles. His present post is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey. He lives in London and is married with a young son.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
IF, and this is a big if, you are fairly literate in the literature on the Nature-Nurture (also called Gene-Culture) debate, then this is a must have book. I am very fond of collections; they allow you access to multiple perspectives on a single issue - quickly. And this collection, although published in 2006, is about as recent as you can get on the issue of Nature-Nurture.

There are ten contributors: Steven Pinker, Ian McEwan, Joseph Carroll, Gabriel Dover, Simon Baron-Cohen, Catherine Belsey, Rita Carter, Ania Loomba, Kenan Malik and Philip Pullman. As explained in the Acknowledgements, "In May 2004 an international group of distinguished writers, scientists and literary theorists met at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London to debate one of the most controversial topics of our time - the problem of human nature. The papers in this volume are based on the talks given at the symposium." After a great Introduction by Wells and McFadden, Steven Pinker begins with his essay, The Biology of Fiction; he is, without a doubt, the most widely known of all the contributors. That said, if you want to go further into this issue, a great place to start would be any one of these four best-selling books: The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature - I would read this first, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature,
...Read more ›
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Philosophical individual on August 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
So far I have read about 7/10ths of the book, and thus so far it has been rather intresting. It at times seems rather chopped up and bouncing around from one chapter to another, seeing as each chapter was written by different authors. At times it can seem increasingly rough transitions between some chapters that can make it somewhat difficulkt to read, atleast for me. As well as the words can at times seem forced, and perhaps at times seems ill-written. As the human philosophys can seem to clash with common thoughts, which can lead to disbelief at some of the claims of the authors, which is not such a bad thing.

On the good side the book does share multiple interesting views. A credit to it is that it indeed delivers many seperate types of ideas and philosophys. It does a pretty admirable job at giving a wide perspective of human nature. It gives many variations and thoughts on the subject, and objectively dissects parts of human nature to try to see it from a realistic perspective.

All in all, not a bad book, an intresting read, indeed, but I think perhaps that there are better books out there, but if you feel the need, pick it up.
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