SSI1 193

An Investigation of Literary Naturalism

This course introduces students to Literary Naturalism, a controversial movement that took root in Europe and the United States in the second half of the 19th Century and that continues to flourish today. The course begins by examining the socio-political and intellectual climate of the Naturalist period, especially the influence of Darwin, Marx, and others on beliefs about progress, social responsibility, human motivation, and the purposes of literature and art. Students then read fiction and drama by several important practitioners of Naturalism, as well as contemporary reviewers┬┐ responses to their works and short critical writings in which the writers themselves explain what they are doing and why. Included in this group are the dramatist August Strindberg and fiction writers Emile Zola, Stephen Crane, Jack London, Frank Norris, Edith Wharton, and Theodore Dreiser. Students also study Jacob Riis┬┐ photojournalism, which focused, like many of the early Naturalist novels, on the plight of the urban poor. Affiliate department: Humanities.