|Publicerad i||Contesting environmental imaginaries : nature and counternature in a time of global change / ed. Steven Hartman|
|Förlagsort||Boston and Leiden|
Institutionen för språk och litteraturer
|Ämnesord||Literary Value - Aesthetic preference - Environmental Aesthetics - Biocultural literary theory -- environmental preference matrix - Five-Factor Model of Personality - Shakespeare - Hamlet|
This paper puts forward a biocultural approach to the problem of literary value, arguing that such a theoretical framework might avoid reductiveness by working across three interlocking levels: panhuman, cultural, and individual. I explore the first level by means of a model derived from the field of environmental aesthetics: Steven Kaplan's "environmental preference matrix," which is rooted in the fundamental need to Understand and Explore. My account of the second level introduces Shakespeare's Hamlet as an illustrative exammple and focuses more closely on how a single factor in Kaplan's model --"Mystery"--is modified by cultural means. On the third level we find yet another complication in the form of individual differences, represented here by the Five-Factor Model of Personality, which can also throw important light on our aesthetic preferences. I end with a brief discussion of some consequences of my findings for the teaching of literature.