Novels have the same effect on society as the oral cautionary tales of humanity’s past, say a team of evolutionary psychologists. And classic Victorian novels, which taught the virtues of cooperation and sharing and condemned selfishness, thus shaped British society as much as they reflected it. Novelists like George Eliot extolled the virtues of an egalitarian society, while Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula represented aristocratic privilege at its most brutal. As one team member put it, “Dracula is not just asserting prestige, he’s actually taking people over and absorbing their life blood.”
Did Dracula and Emily Brönte help us evolve?
New science finds Darwinian lessons in Victorian literature