For those of us for whom “literary Darwinism,” which bases its “scientific” approach to literary criticism on evolutionary psychology, has seemed an intellectual disaster, but who continue to believe that it is important to incorporate science cooperatively into our study of literature; for those who are concerned about how art and literature matter in a world so troubled and dangerous; for those convinced Darwinians who find themselves skeptical about and uneasy with the mechanico-materialist version of Darwinism that Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett have made popular; for those who find that the science they credit is yet inadequately attentive to women's perspectives, Richard Prum's The Evolution of Beauty offers a potentially marvelous option. A distinguished ornithologist, Prum has undertaken an enormously ambitious project, whose implications run from evolutionary biology to aesthetics. From the perspective of a very unscientific literary guy and a wannabe birder, I slightly distrust my enthusiasm for the book. But Prum's arguments are creatively provocative and brilliantly argued, even when they get rather iffily hypothetical; his ornithological studies are intrinsically fascinating, even to nonbirders, and at the same time they have potentially transformative implications. What he has to say, even if his inferences can and should be challenged, deserves the most serious engagement.