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Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American by Donald Pizer

By Donald Pizer

The 1966 version of this e-book has be­come a regular paintings. during this new, re­vised variation, Pizer has dropped 3 chapters and has sophisticated and prolonged the paintings through including six: “American Liter­ary Naturalism: An strategy via Form,” “American Literary Naturalism: the instance of Dreiser,” “The Prob­lem of Philosophy within the Naturalistic Novel,” “Hamlin Garland’s 1891 Main-Travelled Roads: neighborhood colour as Art,” “Jack London: the matter of Form,” and “Dreiser’s ‘Nigger Jeff’: The Devel­opment of an Aesthetic.” The ebook comprises definitions of real­ism and naturalism according to representa­tive novels of the interval starting from Howells’ upward push of Silas Lapham to Crane’s purple Badge of braveness; analyses of the literary feedback of the age, stressing that of Howells, Garland, and Norris; and shut readings of particular works via significant figures of the interval.

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Additional resources for Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Revised Edition (Crosscurrents Modern Critiques)

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Dreiser's ability to capture the tangible commonplace of everyday existence powerfully suggests that the commonplace and everyday are the essence of experience, particularly Page 18 since he returns again and again to the unexciting details of the furnishings of an apartment or the contents of a meal. Moreover, Dreiser's dispassionate tone contributes to this effect. This is not to say that his fiction lacks an ironic dimension. He frequently sets events or beliefs in ironic juxtaposition, as when Carrie is worried that Hurstwood will discover that she and Drouet are unmarried though she herself is unaware that Hurstwood is married.

A definition drawn from these three novels will not be applicable to all late nineteenth-century naturalistic fiction. But, given the significance of these writers and of these novels, it would, I believe, be a useful introduction to this major movement in American literary history. Page 13 A good deal of McTeague is devoted to depicting the routine, ordered world of Polk Street, the lower middle class service street in San Francisco on which McTeague practices and lives. The life of Polk Street enters the novel in two waysthrough set pieces describing street activities or the daily lives of the central characters in relation to the life of the street, and through constant incidental allusion to its activities and inhabitants.

Howells alone fulfills this criterion, and is a kind of mean in this respect, whereas Twain devotes much of his attention to the unusual in incident, James to the unusual in character. The significance of this extension is that Twain and James, rather than Howells, indicate the direction American fiction was to take. For although very few twentieth-century novelists have been concerned with the commonplace, many of our major writers have been occupied with what it is possible to call the horizontal and vertical extensions of realismthat is, the fiction of external violence and interior monologue.

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