For an Archaeology of Biopoetics: A Response to Michele Cometa

  • Mauro Pala University of Cagliari
Keywords: biology, evolution, hermeneutics, selection, scientificity


For an archaeology of biopoetics. (Mauro Pala)

It is useful to look at current literary criticism to understand how different the Darwinist or biopoetic approach to literature is. Current literary theory tends to look at texts as the product of particular social conditions, or as a network of references to other texts. Literary Darwinists instead aim at studying literature through biology, not politics or semiotics. They also take as a given that literature derives its only truth from laws of nature. And yet, in some cases, as Cometa’s provocative paper suggests, issues tackled by practitioners of biopoetics coincide with the ground on which scholars of biopsychology, cognitive rhetoric, evolutionary psychology develop their research. The latter would agreed on the fact that what the literary Darwinists call human nature consists in a set of highly structured set of motivational and cognitive dispositions that have evolved through an adaptive process regulated by natural selection. Seen in this light, biopoetics may help, especially in its recent evolution through German academia, understanding the processes through which metaphors are conceived and both language and communication work


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Author Biography

Mauro Pala, University of Cagliari

Mauro Pala is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Cagliari (Italy).
In 1984 he graduated in Lettere (modern philology, history and philosophy) at the University of Cagliari, Arts Faculty (Modern Philology) and in 1989, as Fulbright scholar, obtained a Master of Arts from Columbia University with a thesis on the American exile of Klaus Mann, attending classes with Julia Kristeva, Edward Said, Eric Foner.
In 1991 he graduated in Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Cagliari and between 1992 and 1994 attended classes in German and American Literature and Theory of Literary Analysis at Frei University in Berlin under the supervision of Prof. Klaus Scherpe.
In 1995 he obtained a PhD in comparative literature with a Dissertation on the urban representations in Döblin and Dos Passos and since 2000 has taught Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Cagliari.
In 2010, as Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer, he was Visiting Professor for the PhD Program in Literature at the University of Notre Dame (USA) and Visiting Professor at the University of Limoges (France).
He has published extensively on European Romanticism, Critical theory, Cultural studies and Postcolonial studies. He has published books, articles and essays on Raymond Williams, Edward Said, Antonio Gramsci, among the others and he has also published on Romanticism and comparative studies, frequently cooperating with the Bologna centre for Romantic studies and lecturing for the Palermo European PhD programme in Cultural studies.


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How to Cite
Pala, M. (2011). For an Archaeology of Biopoetics: A Response to Michele Cometa. Between, 1(1).
Cartographies of Comparative Studies