The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

by Jonathan Gottschall
5.0 2
Pub. Date:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Select a Purchase Option
  • purchase options
    $13.18 $24.00 Save 45% Current price is $13.18, Original price is $24. You Save 45%.
    Note: Access code and/or supplemental material are not guaranteed to be included with textbook rental or used textbook.
  • purchase options


The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

Humans live in landscapes of make-believe: we spin fantasies, we devour novels, films, and plays, and even our sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. It’s easy to say that humans are “wired” for story, but why?
   In this delightful and original book, Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories are a way of rehearsing life’s complex social problems.Our penchant for story has evolved, like other behaviors, to enhance our survival, and, crucially, that of our social group. (In fact, studies show that people who read fiction are more empathetic.) Gottschall explores the deep pattern in children’s make-believe, and what that reveals about story’s prehistoric origins. He shows how a story was partly responsible for Hitler’s rise, how schizophrenia is an example of the story mind run amok, and how successful fiction is inherently moral. We are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547391403
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/10/2012
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi The Witchery of Story 1
The Riddle of Fiction 21
Hell Is Story-Friendly 45
Night Story 68
The Mind Is a Storyteller 87
The Moral of the Story 117
Ink People Change the World 139
Life Stories 156
The Future of Story 177
Notes 201
Acknowledgments 213
Bibliography 215
Credits 231
Index 233

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
LysistrataBrookings More than 1 year ago
A well written book about why humans are enthralled with the concept of story and have been since our humble beginnings as hunters and gatherers. It's gripping, informational, and entertaining. I'd recommend it to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago