The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism

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After its heyday in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, naturalism, a genre that typically depicts human beings as the product of biological and environmental forces over which they have little control, was supplanted by modernism, a genre in which writers experimented with innovations in form and content. In the last decade, the movement is again attracting spirited scholarly debate. The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism takes stock of the best new research in the field through collecting twenty-eight original essays drawing upon recent scholarship in literary and cultural studies. The contributors offer an authoritative and in-depth reassessment of writers from Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, and Jack London to Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, Richard Wright, John Steinbeck, Joyce Carol Oates, and Cormac McCarthy. One set of essays focus on the genre itself, exploring the historical contexts that gave birth to it, the problem of definition, its interconnections with other genres, the scientific and philosophical ideas that motivate naturalist authors, and the continuing presence of naturalism in twenty-first century fiction. Others examine the tensions within the genre-the role of women and African-American writers, depictions of sexuality, the problem of race, and the critique of commodity culture and class. A final set of essays looks beyond the works to consider the role of the marketplace in the development of naturalism, the popular and critical response to the works, and the influence of naturalism in the other arts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Thorough, reliable, and competent information; readers will emerge acquainted with the major naturalist writers, poets, and playwrights of an entire century and informed about their objectives and methods and influence. As a milestone in studies of American naturalism, the Handbook deserves a space in the student's or scholar's library." —Studies in American Naturalism
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195368932
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/24/2011
  • Series: Oxford Handbooks Series
  • Pages: 536
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Keith Newlin is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Most recently, he is the author of Hamlin Garland, A Life and editor of A Summer to Be, a Memoir by the Daughter of Hamlin Garland.

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Table of Contents

Keith Newlin

Part 1: Contexts
1. Romancing the Machine: American Naturalism in Transatlantic Context
Zena Meadowsong
2. The Response to Power in American Literary Naturalism: Visions and Revisions that Transformed a Narrative Mode
Richard Lehan
3. Nature in Naturalism
Bert Bender

Part 2: Naturalism and Genre
4. Defining American Literary Naturalism
Eric Carl Link
5. Sand in Your Mouth: Naturalism and Other Genres
June Howard
6. The Documentary Strategies of Naturalism
Keith Newlin

Part 3: The Scientific and Philosophic Background
7. Determinism, Free will, and Moral Responsibility in American Literary Naturalism
Ian F. Roberts
8. 'First Principles of Morals': Evolutionary Morality and American Naturalism
Rick Armstrong
9. Naturalism and Religion
Steven Frye
10. Things Fall Apart: Degeneration and Atavism in American Literary Naturalism
Gina M. Rossetti
11. American Literary Naturalism and Psychology
Stephen C. Brennan
12. American Naturalism and Modern Evolutionary Psychology
Jeff P. Turpin

Part 4: Naturalist Tensions
13. Women Writers and Naturalism
Donna M. Campbell
14. American Literary Naturalism and Sexuality
Linda Kornasky
15. African American Writers and Naturalism
John Dudley
16. Naturalism and Racialism
Jeanne Campbell Reesman
17. Naturalism and Commodity Culture
Mary E. Papke
18. Naturalism and Class
Jude Davies
19. The Grotesque City, the City of Excess, and the City of Exile
James Giles
20. Naturalism and Crime
Gary Scharnhorst

Part 5: Naturalism and the Marketplace
21. Naturalist Authors and the American Literary Marketplace
Charles Johanningsmeier
22. Consolation, Affirmation, and Convention: The Popular Reception of American Naturalist Texts
Carol S. Loranger
23. Editing Naturalism
Kevin J. Hayes
24. Refashioning American Literary Naturalism: Critical Trends at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century
Christophe Den Tandt

Part 6: Naturalism and the Other Arts
25. Sad Endings and Negative Heroes: The Naturalist Tradition in American Drama
Robert M. Dowling
26. Naturalism and Poetry
Christopher Beyers
27. Naturalism and the Visual Arts
Donald Pizer
28. American Literary Naturalism and Film Noir
Jeff Jaeckle

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