email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
Health Care in America The Happiness of Burnout"Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People""How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?"17 Lies That Are Holding You Back20 Jazz Funk Greats50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are TrueA Brief History of the SmileA Child of One's OwnA Citizen Legislature/A People's ParliamentA Clinician's Guide to Legal Issues in PsychotherapyA Colorful History of Popular DelusionsA Cultural History of Modern Science in ChinaA Cursing Brain?A History of Intelligence and "Intellectual Disability"A History of MarriageA History of PsychiatryA Little F'd UpA Loving Approach to Dementia CareA Man's Guide to Healthy AgingA Mind ApartA Mind So RareA Natural History of RapeA Natural History of VisionA Red Heart of MemoriesA Short History of MedicineA Student's Guide to the History And Philosophy of Yoga A Tear is an Intellectual ThingA Therapist's Guide to Understanding Common Medical ProblemsA Universe of ConsciousnessA User's Guide to the BrainA World Full of GodsABC of Eating DisordersABCs to Positive LivingAbnormal Psychology in ContextAbout FaceAccessible Yoga for Every Body DVDActs of ConscienceAdvances in Culture and PsychologyAfter HarmAfter the Ecstasy, the LaundryAfter the Globe, Before the WorldAgainst the MachineAging Our WayAIDS & People with Severe Mental IllnessAkhenatenAl-JununAlgernon, Charlie and IAll About LoveAllergy ReliefAlone TogetherAlpha GirlsAltered EgosAltered StatesAlways On CallAm I Making Myself Clear?Am I Okay?AM/PM YogaAmerica in the FortiesAmerican Science Fiction Film and TelevisionAmong the Great ApesAn American ObsessionAn Anthropologist on MarsAn Illustrated Book of Bad ArgumentsAn Odd Kind of FameAnatomy of an EpidemicAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnimal ArchitectsAnimal MindsAnimals in TranslationAnother CountryAntimatterAre the Rich Necessary? Updated and Expanded EditionArt and PoliticsArtemis FowlAs Nature Made HimAsylumAsylum on the HillAsylum to ActionAt Liberty to DieAtonement and ForgivenessAttention Deficit DisorderAttitudeAuthentic HappinessBe Very AfraidBeautiful MindsBeauty's NothingBeckett and AnimalsBecoming a DoctorBeing VirtualBelle and Sebastian's If You're Feeling SinisterBest of the Brain from Scientific AmericanBetrayal TraumaBetter Sex Through YogaBeyond AIBeyond GreekBeyond HealthBeyond ReasonBeyond ToleranceBibliotherapyBipolar DisorderBlack Man in a White CoatBlack MassBlind SpotsBlinkBlood and GutsBodies out of BoundsBody Piercing Saved My LifeBorn Standing UpBrain LongevityBrain-Based Teaching for All SubjectsBrainchildrenBrainwashingBread Upon the WatersBreaking Murphy's LawBreaking WomenBreathingBrian Eno's Another Green WorldBrief EncountersBritain on the CouchBrothelBuddhism and ScienceBuilding Healthy MindsBullspottingBullying PreventionBurn UnitBuzzC StreetCalling Our Spirits HomeCamp ZCampus Sexual AssaultCancer on $5 a Day* *(chemo not included)Cato's TearsCaughtChained to the DeskChickenizing Farms and FoodChild Slaves in the Modern WorldChildren's Learning in a Digital WorldChina on the MindChoices and ConflictChoosing CivilityChronic Fatigue Syndrome (The Facts)Classical Pilates Technique DVDCleopatraClinical Psychopharmacology Made Ridiculously SimpleClosing the AsylumsCognition, Creativity, and BehaviorCognitive Neuroscience of EmotionCollege Inc.Coming of Age in AmericaComing of Age in Ancient GreeceConceptual BlockbustingConcrete ReveriesConducting Insanity EvaluationsConfronting Postmaternal ThinkingConnected, or What It Means to Live in the Network SocietyConsciousnessConsider the LobsterConsuming InnocenceContagiousControlConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCool WomenCorpora in Language Acquisition ResearchCorrect EnglishCorrupted CultureCount Us InCovered in InkCreative AngerCreative Core AbsCreative ThinkeringCreative Writing In Health And Social CareCreatures of AccidentCrime and Punishment in AmericaCritical ConditionCritical Perspectives in Public HealthCritical Psychology: An IntroductionCross-Cultural Topics in PsychologyCrossingCrossing the Unknown SeaCruddyCultural Healing and Belief SystemsCulture and Subjective Well-BeingCustomers and Patrons of the Mad-TradeCyber BullyingCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy TeensDance the Chakras Yoga WorkoutDancing After HoursDangerous EmotionsDarwin's Dangerous IdeaDarwin's LegacyDeaf Identities in the MakingDeath in the AirDebunked!DeceptionDecoding DarknessDeep GossipDefenders of the TruthDefining Moments in ScienceDefying DementiaDeinstitutionalization And People With Intellectual DisabilitiesDematerializingDementiaDementia Caregivers Share Their StoriesDemons of the Body and MindDemons of the Modern WorldDepression In Later LifeDirty DetailsDiscourse of Twitter and Social MediaDistractedDivine MadnessDMT and the Soul of ProphecyDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingDoes Science Need a Global Language?Doing GoodDon't Believe Everything You ThinkDon't Get Too ComfortableDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Optimum HealthDr. Andrew Weil's Mindbody ToolkitDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV-TR Case StudiesDuplicityDutiful DaughtersDying for TimeEarthly Bodies, Magical SelvesEastern Body, Western MindEating AnimalsEccentricsEcological MedicineEducating People to Be Emotionally IntelligentEinstein and OppenheimerElectroshockElliott Smith and the Big NothingEmergence and EmbodimentEmergencies in Mental Health PracticeEmotionEmotional Intelligence at WorkEmotions RevealedEncyclopedia of Asylum Therapeutics, 1750-1950sEntwined LivesErotic PassionsEssentials of Cas AssessmentEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthics for the New MillenniumEvamarie Pilipuf's Yoga Express DVDEvery Day Yoga for Every Body DVDEveryday GreensEveryday IrrationalityEveryday SimplicityEverything Is MiscellaneousEvolutionEvolution and Human BehaviorEvolution in MindEvolution's RainbowExploring the Edge Realms of ConsciousnessExuberanceEyes of SophiaFalling for ScienceFalse-Memory Creation in Children and AdultsFamilyFamily Desk Reference to Psychology Fashion and Its Social AgendasFashion, Desire And AnxietyFast, Fresh & GreenFat and FuriousFear and Other Uninvited GuestsFearless ConfessionsFeminist Philosophy And Science FictionFinal ExamFine LinesFixing My GazeFlesh of My FleshFlesh WoundsFlirting With DangerFlow and YinFlying ColorsFocusFood for Thought:Food, Medicine, and the Quest for Good HealthFool Me TwiceFreedom, Fame, Lying, and BetrayalFridaFrom Certainty to UncertaintyFrom Joy Division to New OrderFull Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism MattersFull Steam Ahead!Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and ReligionGang of Four's EntertainmentGender and Its Effects on PsychopathologyGender and Mental HealthGeneration DigitalGenetics of Mental DisordersGeniusGenomeGetting a Good Night's SleepGetting Inside Your HeadGetting WastedGilded CityGirl in the CurlGirlfightingGirls Gone MildGirls on the VergeGod and the MultiverseGood FortuneGood KarmaGood MedicineGood WorkGracefully InsaneGrassroots SpiritualityGreat Psychologists and Their TimeGulpHabeas CorpusHalf a Brain Is EnoughHandbook of AttachmentHappinessHappinessHappiness Is.Hate Crimes in CyberspaceHealingHealing SpacesHealth And the MediaHealth OnlineHearing the Person With DementiaHeavier than HeavenHello from Heaven!HelmholtzHelvetica: A documentary filmHemalayaa's Yoga for Young Bodies DVDHemingway's Second WarHerbs for the MindHere Is New YorkHeroes, Rogues, and LoversHeterophobiaHidden MindsHistory of ShitHistory of SuicideHoly Sh*tHoly WarHooked!Hot Body Cool Mind - Level 1Hot Body Cool Mind: Waking Energy Hot Chocolate for the Mystical LoverHot SpotsHotHouseHouse and PsychologyHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow Doctors ThinkHow Emotions WorkHow Our Lives Become StoriesHow Proust Can Change Your LifeHow Science WorksHow to Build a Robot ArmyHow to Cook Everything VegetarianHow to Grow OldHow to Handle a Hard-To-Handle KidHow We AgeHow We Are Changed by WarHumankindHungerHysteria Complicated by EcstasyI Contain MultitudesI Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of PrivacyI of the VortexI Only Say This Because I Love YouI, Little AsylumIdiot AmericaIf Men Could TalkIgnoranceIllness and ImageImagining NumbersImprove Your Writing With NLPIn Bed with MadnessIn Defense of FoodIn Praise of ScienceIn Pursuit of HappinessIn Search of FatimaIn the Line of DutyIn the Shadows of the NetIn Therapy We TrustIndivisible by TwoInsight Yoga with Sarah PowersIntegrative MedicineIntensive CareIntroduction to Ashtanga Yoga DVDIntroduction to Qi YogaIntroduction to Yoga DVDInvented KnowledgeInvestigating Digital CrimeIrrationalityIs Shame Necessary?It's Up to YouJanis Saffell Beverly Hills YogaJudo with WordsKanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyKids OnlineKilling MonstersKinds of MindsKissing DoorknobsKnowing the Nature of FearKnowledge MonopoliesKundalini Yoga for Beginners & BeyondLandscapes in My MindLaw, Mind and BrainLearning About School ViolenceLearning, Teaching and Education Research in the 21st CenturyLessons Learned on My Way HomeLicentious GothamLies! Lies! Lies!Life CoachingLife MakeoversLimboListening in the Silence, Seeing in the DarkListening to PainListening to the WorldLittle PeopleLittle Red Riding Hood UncloakedLiving DeeplyLiving Well with Pain and IllnessLiving with ArthritisLiving with SchizophreniaLiving, Thinking, LookingLoneliness as a Way of LifeLong Shadow of Small GhostsLosing My MindLove and Sex with RobotsLove Your Body, Love Your LifeLove, Sex & TragedyLust in TranslationMad Mary LambMade in AmericaMadhur Jaffrey's World VegetarianMadnessMadness in CivilizationMaidentripMake It CountMake It Fast, Cook It SlowMaking Babies the Hard WayMaking Dying IllegalMaking SpaceMaking the Big LeapMaking Your Mind MatterMale Female EmailMalefemaleMan As The PrayerManaged Care ContractingMandated Reporting of Suspected Child AbuseManic Depression and CreativityManlinessManning UpMapping the MindMarriage ConfidentialMary Pope Osborne's Tales from the OdysseyMaster PassionsMasters of the MindMatters of SubstanceMean GenesMedia ArgumentationMedia in the Digital AgeMediating MadnessMedical AnthropologyMedicine and Health Care in Early ChristianityMedicine and Philosophy in Classical AntiquityMedieval Writings on Female SpiritualityMemoires 1995Memory, Brain, and BeliefMental Health and Social SpaceMental Health MattersMental Illness in Popular MediaMerchants of DoubtMild Cognitive Impairment and Early Alzheimer's DiseaseMiles to Go for FreedomMillennium GirlsMind in Everyday Life and Cognitive ScienceMind WarsMind, Matter and Quantum MechanicsMindstormsMisconceptionsMistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)Mollie Katzen's RecipesMom's OK, She Just ForgetsMonsters, Demons and PsychopathsMoody BitchesMoral PanicsMore Than MedicineMortificationMothers Who Kill Their ChildrenMusicophiliaMy Bloody Valentine's LovelessMy Life Among the Serial KillersMy Misspent YouthMy Stroke of InsightNakedNaked CityNarratives in PsychiatryNations Have the Right to KillNatureNear Death ExperienceNeurons and NetworksNeuroscience in Science Fiction FilmsNever Out of SeasonNew Versions of VictimsNew YorkNew York September 11Not by DesignNot Your Mother's LifeNothing to HideNurembergNymphomaniaOath BetrayedObesityObjects of Our DesireObliquityOdd CouplesOf Spirits & MadnessOf Two MindsOld AgeOn BlindnessOn Fact and FraudOn the BrinkOn the Origin of StoriesOne Nation Under TherapyOpening to Love 365 Days a YearOptimizing Teaching and LearningOtherhoodOut of the DustOutliersOutsider ArtOver My HeadOxford Guide to the MindPainParanoia of Everyday LifeParents Do Make a DifferenceParty GirlPassingPassionate VegetarianPathways through PainPeople Like OurselvesPerceptual NeurosciencePersons and ThingsPestos, Tapenades, and SpreadsPhilosophy of MindPhotography and LiteraturePilates for MenPink ThinkPlanning for UncertaintyPoets on ProzacPostcards from the Brain MuseumPosthumanismPotatoes Not ProzacPower HerbsPower Yoga for HappinessPoxPractical ClassicsPractical Plans for Difficult Conversations in MedicinePracticing Feminist Ethics in PsychologyPrader-Willi SyndromePredictably IrrationalPretty in PunkPretty Is What ChangesPreventing Misbehavior in ChildrenPrime Ministers of CanadaPrint Literacy DevelopmentPrison MadnessPrivate Life in New Kingdom EgyptProblems in MindProtecting the GiftProust and the SquidPrudePsychiatryPsychiatry in the New MilleniumPsychiatrylandPsychologyPsychology and the MediaPsychology for ScreenwritersPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPublic Health LawPunishment in Popular CulturePure Yoga Pilates with Kerry BestwickQuantum ArchetypesQuantum LeapsR.I.P.Race in Contemporary MedicineRacial ParanoiaRaising a Self-StarterRaising AmericaReady for AnythingReady or NotReady or Not, Here Life ComesReal SexReckoning With HomelessnessReclaiming Our ChildrenReclaiming Soul in Health CareRed Lotus YogaReligion ExplainedRemaking a WorldRepublic.com 2.0Rethinking CommodificationRethinking Middle YearsReviving OpheliaReviving the LeftRewarding Specialties for Mental Health CliniciansRick SingsRights, Risk and Restraint-Free Care of Older PeopleSabbathSame DifferenceSamuel BeckettSatisfactionSavedScared SickScienceScience and NonbeliefScience in the MarketplaceScience TalkScience WarsScience, Consciousness and Ultimate RealitySecond OpinionsSeeds of HopeSelected Ambient Works Volume IISelf Hypnosis for Cosmic ConsciousnessSelf-Help NationSelf-Help, Inc.Selling the Fountain of YouthSells like Teen SpiritSerious ShoppingSeven Challenges To Change Your Life DVDSex, Mom, and GodSex, Time and PowerSexing the BodySexual Orientation and School PolicySexy FeminismShadow, Self, SpiritShop Class as SoulcraftShrink RapSick to Death and Not Going to Take It AnymoreSimulation and Its DiscontentsSinfully VeganSister CitizenSleeping With Extra-TerrestrialsSlut!Snake Oil ScienceSnoopSo Brilliantly CleverSocial RepresentationsSolar Flow Yoga DVDSold on LanguageSome Kind of GeniusSometimes Madness Is WisdomSorting Things OutSoul Made FleshSounds from the Bell JarSoupsSpace, Place and Mental HealthSpeaking Our MindsSpiritual CrisisSpontaneous HealingStates of MindStatus AnxietyStiffedStill HereStill LivesStrange BehaviorStrategies of Commitment and Other EssaysStrength, Grace, HealingStroke DiariesStumbling on HappinessSun SalutationsSuper Natural CookingSuperstitionSupersurvivorsSurgery JunkiesSwordfishtrombonesSylvia Plath ReadsTalk to HerTalking About RaceTalking Back to PsychiatryTalking Heads' Fear of MusicTalking ScienceTeach Yourself MeditationTeaching OnlineTeaching SexTeen LoveTeenageTextbook of Cultural PsychiatryThanks!The 101 Best Graphic NovelsThe Age of American UnreasonThe Alice Behind WonderlandThe American HotelThe American ParadoxThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Clinical PsychiatryThe Americanization of Social ScienceThe Anatomy of HopeThe Anatomy of MelancholyThe Angelica Home KitchenThe Antibiotic EraThe Ape and the Sushi MasterThe Architecture of MadnessThe Arctic IncidentThe Art of ChoosingThe Art of Exceptional LivingThe Bard on the BrainThe Barmaid's BrainThe Beginner's Guide to Healthy EatingThe Better to Eat You WithThe Biotech CenturyThe Birth of PleasureThe Birth of the PillThe Black DeathThe Blackwell Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge ManagementThe Book of the PenisThe Brain That Changes ItselfThe Breathing FieldThe Bridge to HumanityThe Brooklyn Nobody KnowsThe Bully SocietyThe Cafe Brenda CookbookThe Call of the WeirdThe Cambridge Illustrated History of MedicineThe Case Against SugarThe Childless RevolutionThe Clitoral TruthThe Complete Guide to Herbal MedicinesThe Complete Vegetarian HandbookThe Consolations of PhilosophyThe Contemplative HeartThe Couch and the TreeThe Course of Gay and Lesbian LivesThe Creation of the Modern WorldThe Cult of PharmacologyThe Cultural Origins of Human CognitionThe Culture of FearThe Culture of PunishmentThe Da Vinci DogThe Dark Night of the SoulThe Deadly TruthThe Decency WarsThe Disobedience Of The Daughter Of The SunThe Dynamic NeuronThe Easy Yoga WorkbookThe Emotional BrainThe Emotional Journey of the Alzheimer's FamilyThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe End of MaterialismThe End of WarThe English and their HistoryThe Enigma of HealthThe Era of ChoiceThe Eternity CubeThe Event of LiteratureThe Evolving WorldThe f WordThe Fabulous ImaginationThe Faces of TerrorismThe Farm Colonies: Caring for New York City's Mentally Ill In Long Island's State HospitalsThe Fat Studies ReaderThe Fate of Early MemoriesThe Female ThingThe Final LeapThe Firmament of TimeThe Five Things We Cannot Change ...The ForgettingThe Game of TruthThe Get Healthy, Go Vegan CookbookThe Gift of FearThe Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological InvestigationsThe Good Enough ChildThe Great BetrayalThe Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on WomenThe HandThe Handbook of Disability StudiesThe Happiness HypothesisThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Health Psychology HandbookThe Healthy KitchenThe Heart of YogaThe Hedgehog's DilemmaThe Hero's JourneyThe History of Rhetoric and the Rhetoric of HistoryThe History of White PeopleThe Homework MythThe Hungry SoulThe Identity CodeThe Immortalization Commission:The Importance of Being LazyThe Indian VegetarianThe Insider's Guide to Mental Health Resources OnlineThe Insider's Guide to Mental Health Resources OnlineThe Insider's Guide to Mental Health Resources OnlineThe Insider's Guide to Mental Health Resources OnlineThe Intelligibility of NatureThe Interdisciplinary Science of ConsumptionThe Intuitive WriterThe Invisible PlagueThe Irreducible Needs of ChildrenThe Irritable Male SyndromeThe Jewel Tree of TibetThe Joy of MeditatingThe Language ImperativeThe Language Of YogaThe Language PoliceThe Language WarsThe Last PhysicianThe Last Self-Help Book You'll Ever NeedThe Law Is a White DogThe Lie DetectorsThe Little Book of Healthy TeasThe Little Book of HeartbreakThe Little Soy BookThe Little Yoga BookThe Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet HiltonThe Lives of AnimalsThe Lolita EffectThe Lonely PatientThe Loss of Self: A Family Resource for the Care of Alzheimer's Disease and Related DisordersThe Lucifer EffectThe Lucifer PrincipleThe Madness of Adam and EveThe Madwoman in the AtticThe Magic of RealityThe Making of Dr. PhilThe Manual of EpictetusThe Marketplace of IdeasThe Mature MindThe Measure of Our DaysThe Meat Lover's Meatless CookbookThe Medical AdvisorThe Medicalization of SocietyThe Metaphysical ClubThe Mind's PastThe Misunderstood GeneThe MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive SciencesThe Monster WithinThe Mood CureThe Moral Intelligence of ChildrenThe Mystery of Mary RogersThe Myth of Freedom and the Way of MeditationThe New BrainThe New Cancer SurvivorsThe NineThe Nordic Theory of EverythingThe Norm ChroniclesThe Normal OneThe Obesity EpidemicThe Omnivorous MindThe Orchid ThiefThe Origin and Evolution of CulturesThe Oxford Book of Modern Science WritingThe Pain AntidoteThe Paradox of ChoiceThe Paradox of SleepThe Paranoia SwitchThe Passion PlanThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines & Healing TherapiesThe Physics of ConsciousnessThe PlaceboThe Placebo Effect and HealthThe Playful BrainThe Pocket Life CoachThe Portfolio and the DiagramThe Power of FocusThe Power of Full EngagementThe Praeger Handbook of Learning and the BrainThe Private Life of the BrainThe Professor and the MadmanThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychology of Religion and CopingThe Psychology Of The InternetThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Quantum UniverseThe Quarter-Acre FarmThe Race for ConsciousnessThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Red DevilThe Republican BrainThe Richer SexThe Rise and Fall of Classical GreeceThe Rise of Mental Health NursingThe Roman Search for WisdomThe Root of All EvilThe Routledge Companion to Landscape StudiesThe Same Stuff as StarsThe Savage CityThe Science of Good and EvilThe Science of Optimism and HopeThe Scientist In The CribThe Seat of the SoulThe Second SelfThe Secret History of DreamingThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Secret World of Doing NothingThe Seven Sins of MemoryThe ShakeressThe ShallowsThe Social Psychology of StigmaThe Sociology of PhilosophiesThe Sociopath Next DoorThe Soul Knows No BarsThe Spa DeckThe Spiritual Anatomy of EmotionThe Split MindThe Star ThrowerThe Story Is TrueThe Storytelling AnimalThe Strange Case of Hellish NellThe Symmetry of GodThe Talking CureThe Thing You Think You Cannot DoThe Three CulturesThe Three Failures of CreationismThe Toxic ConsumerThe Triumph of NarrativeThe True PathThe Truth About Chronic PainThe UndertakingThe Volitional BrainThe Wages of SinThe War Against BoysThe Way of StretchingThe Weblog HandbookThe Weight of the NationThe Why CaféThe Wild Ass’s SkinThe Will to Live and Other MysteriesThe Wisdom of PsychopathsThe Wisdom of Your DreamsThe Words We Live ByThe World of CaffeineThe Worldwide Practice of TortureThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival HandbookThe Wow ClimaxTheaters of MadnessTheatre and AnimalsTheories of Scientific MethodTherapeutic LandscapesTheraScribe 4.0Think CatThink SmartThinking for a ChangeThinking With AnimalsThrough Deaf EyesToo Big to FailTooning InTop ChefTortured SubjectsTotal AstangaTotal PilatesTotally WiredTowards a Science of Consciousness IIITrain Your Brain to Get RichTransforming MadnessTraumatic PastsTreatment and Rehabilitation of Severe Mental IllnessTreatment Kind and FairTribal ScienceTrick or TreatmentTrusting DoctorsTry to RememberTutoring as a Successful BusinessTwelve Examples of IllusionTwinsUnder the Medical GazeUnderstanding and Treating Violent Psychiatric PatientsUnderstanding Child MolestersUnderstanding FitnessUnforgettableUnholy MadnessUnscientific AmericaUnspeakable Acts, Ordinary PeopleUnto OthersUp From DragonsUrban Tourism and Urban ChangeUseful BodiesValues in ConflictVarieties of Anomalous ExperienceVegan ExpressVegetarian Turkish CookingVertigo VisionsVictorian Popularizers of ScienceViniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum and HipsViolence Against WomenVoices Of Alzheimer'sVoices of CaregivingVoices of MadnessVoluntary SimplicityWaking Up to What You DoWalkingWalking a Literary LabyrinthWall: A World DividedWarWays of KnowingWays of KnowingWe Shall Be No MoreWe Shall Not Be MovedWe've Got BlogWellbeingWhat Emotions Really AreWhat I Learned in Medical SchoolWhat in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?What Makes Us Think?What Nietzsche Really SaidWhat Our Children Teach UsWhat Science Offers the HumanitiesWhat Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and LiteracyWhat's Holding You Back? What's So Wrong with Being Absolutely RightWhen a Family Member Has DementiaWhen Experiments TravelWhen Good Thinking Goes BadWhen History Is a NightmareWhen Johnny and Jane Come Marching HomeWhen Mothers KillWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Someone You Know Is Living in a Dementia Care CommunityWhen Things Fall ApartWhere Biology Meets PsychologyWhere Good Ideas Come FromWhere is the Mango Princess?Wherever You Go, There You AreWhile They SleptWhispers from the EastWho Rules in ScienceWhy Does E=mc2?Why Don't Students Like SchoolWhy God Won't Go AwayWhy Have Kids?Will They Ever Trust Us Again?WisdomWise Mind, Open MindWitch Beliefs and Witch Trials in the Middle AgesWitchcrazeWith Their EyesWithin ReasonWomanWomen and Mental IllnessWorking With Emotional IntelligenceWriting in FlowYogaYoga & Pilates Workouts for DummiesYoga Beauty BodyYoga for EveryoneYoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do ItYoga for Regular GuysYoga for Regular Guys DVDYoga In BedYoga on DemandYoga SanctuaryYoga SculptYoga ShaktiYoga To Go's Yoga Quick Fixes DVDYogalosophyYou Are Not Your IllnessYou'd Be So Pretty If . . .Your Miracle BrainZen Encounters with LonelinessZen-Brain Reflections
Brian Boyd's aim in his thorough, and thoroughly frustrating, On the Origin of Stories, is to explore and explain why humans tell stories. He wants to understand how and why an activity that, on the surface, may seem unrelated to our survival as a species, does in fact have an evolutionary basis. Following on from this, he develops an argument for an alternative, evolutionary-based literary criticism, tentatively called 'evocriticism'.
The book is organized into two sections, the first dealing with the author's argument for art, and fiction in particular, having an evolutionary basis, and the second with his application of this argument to two examples of supreme storytelling, Homer's The Odyssey and Dr Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!
The general scheme of Boyd's book is well-organized, proceeding logically through evolution generally, evolution and art, and then evolution and fiction. Unfortunately, I found this beautifully presented, big book frustrating because the arguments themselves are presented poorly, buried in overwriting and repetition, so that it is difficult to get a clear overview of them. The 400 pages could be condensed and clarified considerably to make those arguments stand out, and the reading less exhausting.
The subject is a terrific one: why is it that humans are the only species to have a sustained artistic impulse? Why do we exert so much energy to produce art, and specifically, tell made-up stories? Is art generally just a byproduct (as Stephen Pinker believes) of human development, something pleasurable we like to do but not really of any evolutionary benefit; or has it developed because it is actually of some benefit to our survival, and our dominance as a species?
Boyd appears to want to put art, and storytelling in particular, firmly in place as something vitally important to us as a species, and not just entertaining or academic. He argues fervently for evocriticism against post-modernist theories of human culture and literature (which he refers to as Theory), which do not recognize universals or human nature as such, and which, he appears to argue, take the pleasure out of reading. And he wants to dispel the idea of an evolutionary approach to literature as being reductive, narrowing all down to genes. For example, he states that '[e]volution has allowed humans to develop our singular capacity for culture because culture helps us to track changes in the environment more rapidly than genes do'. The two -- genes and culture -- work together to advance the species.
The author works methodically through explanations of adaptation, intelligence, cooperation (yields better results than selfishness in the long-term) and our intense sociality. Hethen applies evolution to the development of art, giving reasons why he feels biology and culture are both needed to explain it, including art's universality, persistence, cost, emotional resonance, and development in all of us from an early age.
He argues that art must be important to us as a species or it would have been selected out, and that it evolved as a form of play, specifically cognitive play. As animals play for fun but also for hunting and fighting training, humans make art for their enjoyment, but also for more serious reasons. Art offers benefits by encouraging cooperation and intense sociality that gives a group advantages over another without so much art. It is also self-rewarding, increases status, and develops creativity and imagination.
When Boyd comes to fiction specifically, he discusses theory of mind, the understanding of others in terms of their goals, intentions, desires and beliefs, which develops during early childhood in humans in a particularly elaborate and complex way, and enables us to feel empathy for others. Fiction taps into this through presenting the possible motivations for characters in stories, thus helping us experience situations in our imagination that we might not have in real life.
The second part of the book deals with Boyd's discussion of the two great works of fiction. He believes that evocriticism offers 'new directions in which to look' and 'deepens our understanding and appreciation of literature' over and above the current methods of literary analysis and criticism. While his analysis is thorough, too much of it seemed obvious (Homer's tactics to attract and keep readers, for example) and not particularly interesting or original. In contrast, another book I have reviewed here recently, Affective Mapping: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism by Jonathan Flatley, shows me how rich, complex and original literary analysis can be, revealing aspects of Henry James, for example, that I had not encountered before.
In scanning the work of other literary Darwinists, such as Joseph Carroll, I see a similar attitude towards other types of literary theory as Boyd's. Instead of convincing me of the merits of evocriticism, I am irritated by the scathing and dismissive arguments against political, psychoanalytical or semiotic analysis, and see it as short-sighted and limiting.
However, I think Boyd has done a service to literature by arguing for a different way of talking about the books we love. He has argued that we cannot, in fact, live without stories, because they are an adaptation that has enabled our success as a species. We enjoy them, they bring us together and foster cooperation and sharing of values, they encourage attention and empathy. At a recent writers' festival in my city, I found myself thinking about Boyd's book. One writer in particular spoke of things that bind us together as human beings: love, family, luck, birth, death. He was speaking of memoir, which I think has a place in Boyd's theory, as do other forms of storytelling, not only the fictional.
Boyd takes the reader through The Odyssey and Horton Hears a Who!, using the evocritical methods he has so painstakingly developed in a equally painstaking manner. However, I am not convinced that evocriticism is going to provide an adequate method of analyzing stories on its own. I see it as a useful, but perhaps limited, way of asserting the importance of storytelling, a form of criticism to add to our collection of methods of analyses.
© 2009 Sue Bond
Sue Bond has degrees in medicine and literature and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing. She reviews for online and print publications. She lives in Queensland, Australia