Catalogue


Twentieth-century American literary naturalism : an interpretation /
by Donald Pizer.
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1982.
description
xiii, 171 p. --
ISBN
0809310279
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1982.
isbn
0809310279
general note
Includes index.
local note
cop.2 is 2nd. print.,1983.
catalogue key
4332760
 
Bibliography: p. [165]-167.
A Look Inside
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
An important paradox characterizes the history of American literary naturalism. Although the movement has been attacked by literary journalists and academic critics since its origin in the 1890s, it has been one of the most persistent and vital strains in American fiction. Naturalism 'refuses to die' in America despite the deep antagonism it usually inspires. Few of our major twentieth-century novelists have escaped its 'taint, ' and it is perhaps the only modern literary form in America which has been both popular and significant.
Main Description
Scorned by critics since birth, decreed dead by many, naturalism, according to Donald Pizer, is "one of the most persistent and vital strains in American fiction, perhaps the only modern literary form in America that has been both popular and significant." To define naturalism and explain its tena­cious hold throughout the twentieth century on the American creative imagination, Pizer explores six novels: James T. Farrell'sStuds Lonigan,John Dos Passos'sU.S.A., John Stein­beck'sThe Grapes of Wrath,Norman Mailer'sThe Naked and the Dead,William Styron'sLie Down in Darkness,and Saul Bellow'sThe Adven­tures of Augie March. Pizer's approach to these novels is empiri­cal; he does not wrench each novel awk­wardly until it fits his framework of general­izations and principles; rather, he approaches the novels as fiction and arrives at his defini­tion through his close reading of the works. Establishing the background of natural­ism, Pizer explains that it comes under attack because it is "sordid and sensational in sub­ject matter," it challenges "man's faith in his innate moral sense and thus his responsibility for his actions," and it is so full of "social documentation" that it is often dismissed as little more than a photographic record of a life or an era; thus the "aesthetic valid­ity of the naturalistic novel has often been questioned." Pizer posits the 1890s, the 1930s,and the late 1940s as the decades when naturalism flourished in America. He concentrates on literary criticism, not on the philosophy ofnaturalism, to show that literary criticism can make a contribution to a particularly muddled area of literary history--a natural­ism that is alive and changing, thus resisting the neat definitions reserved for the dead.
Main Description
Scorned by critics since birth, decreed dead by many, naturalism, according to Donald Pizer, is "one of the most persistent and vital strains in American fiction, perhaps the only modern literary form in America that has been both popular and significant." To define naturalism and explain its tena cious hold throughout the twentieth century on the American creative imagination, Pizer explores six novels: James T. Farrell's Studs Lonigan, John Dos Passos's U.S.A. , John Stein beck's The Grapes of Wrath, Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, William Styron's Lie Down in Darkness, and Saul Bellow's The Adven tures of Augie March. Pizer's approach to these novels is empiri cal; he does not wrench each novel awk wardly until it fits his framework of general izations and principles; rather, he approaches the novels as fiction and arrives at his defini tion through his close reading of the works. Establishing the background of natural ism, Pizer explains that it comes under attack because it is "sordid and sensational in sub ject matter," it challenges "man's faith in his innate moral sense and thus his responsibility for his actions," and it is so full of "social documentation" that it is often dismissed as little more than a photographic record of a life or an era; thus the "aesthetic valid ity of the naturalistic novel has often been questioned." Pizer posits the 1890s, the 1930s,and the late 1940s as the decades when naturalism flourished in America. He concentrates on literary criticism, not on the philosophy ofnaturalism, to show that literary criticism can make a contribution to a particularly muddled area of literary history--a natural ism that is alive and changing, thus resisting the neat definitions reserved for the dead.
Main Description
Scorned by critics since birth, decreed dead by many, naturalism, according to Donald Pizer, is "one of the most persistent and vital strains in American fiction, perhaps the only modern literary form in America that has been both popular and significant." To define naturalism and explain its tena­cious hold throughout the twentieth century on the American creative imagination, Pizer explores six novels: James T. Farrell'sStuds Lonigan,John Dos Passos'sU.S.A., John Stein­beck'sThe Grapes of Wrath,Norman Mailer'sThe Naked and the Dead,William Styron'sLie Down in Darkness,and Saul Bellow'sThe Adven­tures of Augie March. Pizer's approach to these novels is empiri­cal; he does not wrench each novel awk­wardly until it fits his framework of general­izations and principles; rather, he approaches the novels as fiction and arrives at his defini­tion through his close reading of the works. Establishing the background of natural­ism, Pizer explains that it comes under attack because it is "sordid and sensational in sub­ject matter," it challenges "man's faith in his innate moral sense and thus his responsibility for his actions," and it is so full of "social documentation" that it is often dismissed as little more than a photographic record of a life or an era; thus the "aesthetic valid­ity of the naturalistic novel has often been questioned." Pizer posits the 1890s, the 1930s,and the late 1940s as the decades when naturalism flourished in America. He concentrates on literary criticism, not on the philosophy ofnaturalism, to show that literary criticism can make a contribution to a particularly muddled area of literary historya natural­ism that is alive and changing, thus resisting the neat definitions reserved for the dead.
Main Description
Scorned by critics since birth, decreed dead by many, naturalism, according to Donald Pizer, is "one of the most persistent and vital strains in American fiction, perhaps the only modern literary form in America that has been both popular and significant." To define naturalism and explain its tena­cious hold throughout the twentieth century on the American creative imagination, Pizer explores six novels: James T. Farrell's Studs Lonigan, John Dos Passos's U.S.A. , John Stein­beck's The Grapes of Wrath, Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, William Styron's Lie Down in Darkness, and Saul Bellow's The Adven­tures of Augie March. Pizer's approach to these novels is empiri­cal; he does not wrench each novel awk­wardly until it fits his framework of general­izations and principles; rather, he approaches the novels as fiction and arrives at his defini­tion through his close reading of the works. Establishing the background of natural­ism, Pizer explains that it comes under attack because it is "sordid and sensational in sub­ject matter," it challenges "man's faith in his innate moral sense and thus his responsibility for his actions," and it is so full of "social documentation" that it is often dismissed as little more than a photographic record of a life or an era; thus the "aesthetic valid­ity of the naturalistic novel has often been questioned." Pizer posits the 1890s, the 1930s, and the late 1940s as the decades when naturalism flourished in America. He concentrates on literary criticism, not on the philosophy of naturalism, to show that literary criticism can make a contribution to a particularly muddled area of literary history--a natural­ism that is alive and changing, thus resisting the neat definitions reserved for the dead.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introduction American Naturalism in the 1890sp. 3
The: 1930sp. 11
Prefacep. 13
Studs Loniganp. 17
U S. Ap. 39
The: Grapes of Wrathp. 65
The: Late 1940s and Early 1950sp. 83
Prefacep. 85
The: Naked and the Deadp. 90
Lie Down in Darknessp. 115
The: Adventures of Augie Marchp. 133
Notesp. 155
Bibliography Works About American Literary Naturalismp. 165
Indexp. 169
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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