Buy New
$36.63
Qty:1
  • List Price: $41.95
  • Save: $5.32 (13%)
Usually ships within 1 to 2 months.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Of Literature and Knowledge: Explorations in Narrative Thought Experiments, Evolution, and Game Theory Paperback – January 9, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0415420600 ISBN-10: 0415420601 Edition: 1st

Buy New
Price: $36.63
13 New from $34.56 9 Used from $60.93
Rent from Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
$10.15
Paperback
"Please retry"
$36.63
$34.56 $60.93
Year-End%20Deals%20in%20Books
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (January 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415420601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415420600
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,714,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'... an important advance in this new and very important subject... literature is about to become even more interesting.' - Edward O. Wilson

'...A complex and usefully provocative contribution to the field. Laudably ambitious and readable, it deserves to stimulate debate among those of us trying to work out the place of literary studies in a predominantly scientific age.' - Jon Adams, London School of Economics, BSLA Reviews

About the Author

Peter Swirski is the Head of American Studies at the University of Hong Kong. His key research areas are twentieth-century American literature and culture, including popular fiction and film; critical theory, especially aesthetics, genre theory, game theory, and epistemology; and the work of science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem.


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Lee on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I need to explain that my background in mainly in the social sciences,

although I read widely in literature and have recently been involved in an interdisciplinary program called Literature, Science, Society. This is also why I was attracted to buy this book, and, having read it in one evening, I am amazed that such an original, wide ranging and colorfully written book has not yet been the subject of a dozen reviews. You can gauge the quality of this extraordinary little volume by the editorial reviews. The first is by E.O.Wilson, one of the greatest scientists of our times (and controversial too), and the other from Joseph Carroll who, as far as I can tell, is the best critic in the field called literary/evolutionary studies. Both extol the virtues of Swirski's book

and, to my mind, both are right to do so.

A few words about the structure of this book. After the introduction

which, in readability, humor, and clarity of analysis sets the tone for the other 180 pages, come 5 chapters. Chapter 1 "Literature and Knowledge" contains a detailed review of the state of literary research, or, as Swirski makes painfully clear, what goes under the name of literary research. Chapter Two "Literature and Modelling" outlines with the unexpected homologies between literature and mathematics. Chapter 3 "Literature and Evolution" is a model of how interdisciplinary analysis ought to be done: it will certainly form the backbone of the courses I teach. Chapter 4 "Literature and Thought Experiments" is in many

ways the linchpin of the book. It covers the many ways in which fiction

behaves like a thought experiment and it also reviews and rebuts the standard criticisms of counterfactual thinking.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By B. Braschler on August 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
When we read a novel what do we stand to gain? Enjoyment? In many cases yes, but is there more to it than the aesthetical value? Why do people love to tell and hear stories so much? If you are interested to learn more about the role of stories in our lives then this book has some surprising answers. The author methodically examines the role of fiction in our search for knowledge. He introduces us to the modelling properties of stories, showing the surprising similarities between literature and mathematics. He demonstrates that many stories have the properties of though experiments not different from those used in philosophy or the natural sciences.
Swirski brings his case methodologically, examining both mechanisms and possible outcomes. To do this he draws from a multitude of sources that are as diverse as the aim of the book is interdisciplinary, underlining the generality of the concepts presented. He draws on evolution to explain how it can be that we gain knowledge from though models, and methodologically analyses and rebuts the arguments against their use. He demonstrates the principles using examples from famous works as well as from everyday life. The breadth of examples used is in itself a good reason to read this book as most people - be they students of literature or of the natural sciences - will find much that was unknown to them and even more that is presented in a new and surprising context. The language is easy enough to follow even for readers new to the field (I am myself a scientist, though I love literature) and often gripping or humorous like that of a good novel. At times it is also passionate, e.g. when the author attacks practices in literary research that he considers being misleading.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cheung Lisa on January 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
When watching the recent movie, Golden Compass, I imagined if I were Laura, would I have the same courage to negotiate with the new King of Icebear. I asked myself these questions: What tactics did Laura use in the negotiation? What could I learn from Laura when facing challenge in the future? The movie sets an imaginary scene, but it is such an 'unreal' scene that, when fully engaging ourselves in watching it, brings 'real' influences to us, even to the world.

"Stories, stories everywhere" (p.1). We read stories, we tell stories, and we learn from stories. "Man is a storytelling animal by nature" (Eco, 1983, as cited in p.1). Whenever we read a novel or tell a story, have we ever thought what we can gain from stories and how we learn 'real' things from stories? What is the role of stories in humanities? You will find the answers in Peter Swirski's recent contribution "Of Literature and Knowledge: Explorations in Narrative Thought Experiments, Evolution, and Game Theory".

At first sight, I was puzzled about the book cover showing Rubik's Cube (the 3×3×3 standard cube): how is it relevant to literature and knowledge? I had no power to resist reading the volume. Within two days, having eaten it up, I found the answers: literary fictions possess the properties of thought experiments not different from those adopted in philosophy, mathematics, or science. With energy and passion, you will be impressively amazed by this thin but rich volume contributed by Peter Swirski, who is Associate Professor in American Literature and heads American Studies at the University of Hong Kong.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again