Cover

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Half Title, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xviii

Naturalism is dead. Notwithstanding Paul Alexis’s famous 1891 telegram to Jules Huret (“Naturalism not dead. Letter follows.”), according to at least one periodical, by the turn of the twentieth century the only thing naturalism lacked was an elegy by Emmeline Grangerford. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xix-xx

I owe a great deal of gratitude to many people who helped and encouraged me through the years while this study was in progress. Many thanks go to G. R. Thompson, who believed in this project from the start and who aided me in innumerable ways through his encouragement and insightful criticism. Without his support this project would not have been possible. ...

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1. Defining American Literary Naturalism

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pp. 1-20

In 1899 Frederic Taber Cooper contributed an article on the works of the novelist Frank Norris to The Bookman.1 Printed on the first page of the article was a picture of Norris, a reproduction of a painting by Norris’s friend Ernest Peixotto. A simple portrait, the painting portrays a young, solemn—though not overly serious—Norris in dress coat and collar, sitting in a dark chair and resting one hand against his chin. ...

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2. The Naturalist Aesthetic

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pp. 21-67

The expectations we bring to a text help shape the way we read and respond to it. This point was not lost on nineteenth-century authors, who at times took delight in manipulating their reader’s genre expectations. Edgar Allan Poe was a master at this game, casting certain of his most fantastic gothic romances in the form of realistic reportage or autobiography. ...

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3. Naturalism and Utopia

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pp. 68-99

Viewing literary naturalism as the thematic exploration of naturalist theory has the surprising result of joining together two seemingly very different literary types. Just as Frank Norris in Vandover and the Brute, Stephen Crane in Maggie, and Theodore Dreiser in Sister Carrie all explore naturalist theory, so too—to an extent—do Edward Bellamy in Looking Backward, ...

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4. The Forms of Determinism

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pp. 100-140

In Frank Norris’s satiric allegory “The Puppets and the Puppy” (1897), a Lead Soldier, a Doll, a Mechanical Rabbit, a Queen’s Bishop (from a chess set), and a Japhet manikin discuss determinism, free will, sin, moral responsibility, and death.1 The story begins with the Lead Soldier remarking: “Well, here we are, put into this Room, for something, we don’t know what; ...

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5. Reading American Literary Naturalism

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pp. 141-164

What can we say with assurance about naturalistic texts? We can say that they all engage in the thematic exploration of naturalist theory—but, of course, that is how we defined the term “literary naturalism” in chapter 1, so there is no grand revelation to be realized in its restatement here. Beyond this bald definitional claim, there is little else we can claim about naturalistic texts with such sweeping assurance, ...

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Afterword

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pp. 165-167

The American literary naturalists were reformist not only in a social sense, but also in the sense that they revealed new dimensions of the human experience. They brought late-nineteenth-century fiction out of the drawing room and into the open air. They took their characters into wheat fields and Death Valley, battlefields and frontiers, slums and the open ocean. ...

Notes

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pp. 168-203

Selected Bibliography of American Literary Naturalism

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pp. 204-210

Index

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pp. 211-218