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American Literature_ 17th_ 18th_ and 19th Centuries - Shepherd

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                        AMERICAN LITERATURE
                 OF THE 17TH, 18TH, AND 19TH CENTURIES

                             Dr. Charles W. Carter

I.    THE LITERATURE OF COLONIAL AMERICA
      A.    Early Colonial Writers
            1.      English Heritage
            2.      Captain John Smith
            3.      The Pilgrims (Separatists) of Plymouth (1620) and The Puritans of
      Massachusetts Bay (1628): A Contrast
      B.    17th-Century American Literature
            1.      The "Plain Style" of the Puritans: General Characteristics
            2.      Moral Purpose of Puritan Writing: Sermons, Biographies, Narratives
            (William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson)
      C.    American Poetry Before 1765
            1.      Two Categories
                    a.     That Written to be Memorized: Bay Psalm Book [1640], The Day
                    of Doom [1662]
                    b.     That Written to Dignify Important Occasions
            2.      ANNE BRADSTREET (1612-1672), The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up
            in America (1650)
            3.      EDWARD TAYLOR (c.1642-1729), God's Determinations Touching His
            Elect and 217 Preparatory Meditations
                    a.     Metaphysical Characteristics
                    b.     Artistic Achievements

II.   EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE: THE 18TH CENTURY
      A.     Travel Journals, Diaries, and Autobiographies
             1.     Secular Tendencies: Sarah Kimble Knight, William Byrd II, Benjamin
             Franklin
             2.     Spiritual Tendencies: John Woolman & Jonathan Edwards
      B.     18th-Century American Poetry
             1.     NeoClassical School of the Connecticut Wits
             2.     Religious Poetry: Phillis Wheatley
             3.     Transitional Poets: Philip Freneau and William Cullen Bryant
      C.     Trends in the Development of the American Novel
             1.     Fiction of Sentiment and Sensibility
                    a.      William Hill Brown, The Power of Sympathy (1789)
                    b.      Susanna H. Rowson, Charlotte Temple (1791)
                    c.      Hannah W. Foster, The Coquette
             2.     Fiction Imitating Gothic Romances: CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN,
             Wieland (1798), Ormond (1799), Arthur Mervyn (1799), and Edgar
      Huntley (1799)
             3.     Fiction Imitating Mystery/Propaganda Novels: HUGH HENRY
             BRACKENRIDGE, Modern Chivalry (1815)

            4.     Fiction Imitating Social, Domestic Novels and Historical Novels: JAMES
                   FENIMORE COOPER, Precaution (1820), The Spy (1821), The
                                                                             2

              Leatherstocking Tales [The Pioneers (1823), The Last of the Mohicans
       (1826), The Praries (1827), The Pathfinder (1840), and The Deerslayer
       (1841)]--Natty Bumppo & Chingachgook
       D.     The American Short Story: WASHINGTON IRVING, The Sketchbook (1819)

III.   AMERICAN LITERATURE OF THE 19TH CENTURY (1829-1865):
       THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE
       A.    New England: Changing Concepts of God and Man
             1.     From Calvinism to Unitarianism: A Contrast
             2.     American TRANSCENDENTALISM
                     a.      Transcendental Club (1836-44) and The Dial (ed. 1840-42
                    Margaret Fuller & 1842-44 Ralph Waldo Emerson))
                     b.      Relation to Unitarianism
             3.     The Transcendentalist Views of EMERSON and THOREAU
             4.     The Opposing Views of HAWTHORNE and MELVILLE
       B.    American Prose (1829-1865)
             1.     Philosophical Prose: RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), Nature
             (1836), Essays (First Series, 1841), Essays (Second Series, 1844)
             2.     Philosophical, Symbolic Prose: HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817-
             1862), WALDEN (1854)
             3.     Autobiographical Prose: FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1817-1895),
             Narrative of the Life of . . . An American Slave (1845)
       C.    American Fiction (1829-1865)
             1.     EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849), Tales of the Grotesque and
       Arabesque (1840)
                    a.     Major Influences and Theory of Fiction
                    b.     Artistic Achievements
             2.     NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804-1864), Twice-Told Tales
             (1837), The Scarlet Letter (1850)
                    a.     Major Influences on Hawthorne's Fiction
                    b.     Major Themes and Artistic Achievements
             3.     HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-1891), Moby-Dick (1855), Piazza Tales
                           (1856)
                    a.     Comparison/Contrast to Hawthorne
                    b.     Major Themes and Artistic Achievements
       D.    American Poetry (1829-1865)
             1.     EDGAR ALLAN POE, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Other Poems (1829)
             The Raven and Other Poems (1845)
             2.     The American Bard: WALT WHITMAN (1819-1892), Leaves of Grass
             (1855 to 1892)
                     a. General Characteristics: "Song of Myself"
                     b. Artistic Innovations and Achievements
             3.     Toward The Modern: EMILY DICKINSON (1830-1886), Poems by
             Emily Dickinson (1890), The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (ed.
       Thomas H. Johnson, 1960)
                    a.     Contrast to Whitman
                    b.     General Thematic Concerns
                    c.     Artistic Innovations and Achievements
                                                                                        3

                        SUGGESTED FURTHER READINGS
                  17th, 18th, and 19th-Century American Literature
                                Dr. Charles W. Carter
                                 Professor of English


I.     EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE
       Miller, Perry. The New England Mind: From Colony to Province, 1961.
       ---. The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century. 1961.
       Miller, Perry and Thomas H. Johnson, Eds. The Puritans. 2 vols., 1938.
       Murdock, Kenneth B. Literature and Theology in Colonial New England, 1949.
       Parrington, Vernon L. The Colonial Mind (Vol I of Main Currents in American Thought),
               1955.
       Spiller, Robert E. and others. Literary History of the United States. Revised 3rd Edition,
       1973.
       Tyler, Moses Coit. A History of American Literature During the Colonial Time.
Revised                Edition, 1962.
       ANNE BRADSTREET
               Piercy, Josephine. Anne Bradstreet, 1965.
               Stanford, Ann. Anne Bradstreet: The Worldly Puritan, 1974.
               --- and Pattie Cowell, Eds. Critical Essays on Anne Bradstreet, 1983.
       EDWARD TAYLOR
               Grabo, Norman S. Edward Taylor. Revised Edition, 1988.
               Early American Literature. Special Taylor Issue, 4 (Winter 1969-1970).
       JONATHAN EDWARDS
               Miller, Perry. Jonathan Edwards, 1959.
       BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
               Amacher, Richard E. Benjamin Franklin, 1962.
               Granger, Bruce I. Benjamin Franklin: An American Man of Letters, 1980.
               Van Doren, Carl. Benjamin Franklin, 1938.
       PHILIP FRENEAU
               Andrews, William D. "Philip Freneau and Francis Hopkinson." American
       Literature, 1764-1789, The Revolutionary Years, 1977.
               Leary, Lewis. That Rascal Freneau: A Study in Literary Failure, 1941.
       WASHINGTON IRVING
               Browdin, Stanley, Ed. The Old and New World Romanticism of Washington
               Irving, 1986.
               Williams, Stanley T. The Life of Washington Irving. 2 vols., 1935.
               Hedges, William L. Washington Irving: An American Study, 1965.
       JAMES FENIMORE COOPER
               Walker, Warren S., Ed. Leatherstocking and the Critics: A Collection of Essays,
               1965.
               Spiller, Robert E. Fenimore Cooper, Critic of His Times, 1931.
       WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT
               Peckham, Howard H. Gotham Yankee: A Biography of William Cullen Bryant,
               1950.

II.    THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE
       Feidelson, Charles, Jr. Symbolism in American Literature. 1953.
                                                                                     4

        Lewis, R. W. B. The American Adam: Innocence, Tragedy, and Tradition in the
        Nineteenth Century, 1955.
        Matthiessen, F. O. American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson
and             Whitman, 1941. The definitive study of the period.
        Stovall, Floyd, Ed. Eight American Authors: A Review of Research and Criticism,
1956.
        Pearce, Roy Harvey. The Continuity of American Poetry, 1961.
               Waggoner, Hyatt H. American Poetry from the Puritans to the Present.
        RALPH WALDO EMERSON
               Hopkins, Vivian C. Spires of Form: A Study of Emerson's Aesthetic Theory,
1951.
            Konvitz, Milton and Stephen E. Whicher, Eds. Emerson: A Collection of Critical
            Essays, 1962. Paul, Sherman. Emerson's Angle of Vision: Man and Nature
            in American Experience, 1952.
            Rusk, Ralph L. The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1949.
        HENRY DAVID THOREAU
            Harding, Walter. The Days of Henry Thoreau, 1965.
            ---, Ed. Thoreau: A Century of Criticism, 1954.
            ---. A Thoreau Handbook, 1959.
            Paul, Sherman, Ed. Thoreau: A Collection of Critical Essays, 1962.
        NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
            Crews, Frederick C. The Sins of the Fathers: Hawthorne's Psychological Themes,
            1966.
            Fogle, Richard Harter. Hawthorne's Fiction: The Light and the Dark, 1964.
            Hoeltje, Hubert H. Inward Sky: The Mind and Art of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1962.
            Kaul, A. N., Ed. Hawthorne: A Collection of Critical Essays, 1966.
            Male, Roy R. Hawthorne's Tragic Vision, 1957.
            Pearce, Roy Harvey, Ed. Hawthorne Centenary Essays, 1964.
            Stewart, Randall. Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1948.
            Waggoner, Hyatt H. Hawthorne: A Critical Study, 1963.
        HERMAN MELVILLE
            Arvin, Newton. Herman Melville, 1950.
            Chase, Richard. Herman Melville, 1949.
            ---, Ed. Melville: A Collection of Critical Essays, 1962.
            Fogle, Richard Harter. Melville's Shorter Tales, 1968.
            Franklin, H. Bruce. The Wake of the Gods: Melville's Mythology, 1963.
            Howard, Leon. Herman Melville, 1951.
            Newan, Lea B. V. A Reader's Guide to the Short Fiction of Herman Melville,
            1986.
            Ricks, Beatrice and Joseph D. Adams, Eds. Herman Melville: A Reference
            Bibliography, 1900-1972, 1973.
            Stern, Milton R. The Fine Hammered Steel of Herman Melville, 1957.
            Thompson, Lawrence. Melville's Quarrel with God, 1952.
        EDGAR ALLAN POE
            Carlson, Eric W., Ed. Critical Essays on Edgar Allan Poe, 1987.
            Davidson, E. H. Poe: A Critical Study, 1957.
            Hoffman, Daniel G. Poe, Poe, Poe, 1972.
            Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography, 1941.
                                                                         5

EMILY DICKINSON
    Anderson, Charles R. Emily Dickinson's Poetry: Stairway of Surprise, 1960.
    Chase, Richard. Emily Dickinson, 1951.
    Johnson, Thomas H. Emily Dickinson: An Interpretive Biography, 1955.
    Juhasz, Suzanne, Ed. Feminist Critics Read Emily Dickinson, 1983.
    Pollak, Vivian R. Dickinson: The Anxiety of Gender, 1984.
    Sewall, Richard B. The Life of Emily Dickinson. 2 vols, 1974.
    Whicher, George F. This Was A Poet: A Critical Biography of Emily Dickinson,
    1938.
WALT WHITMAN
    Allen, Gay Wilson. The Soliary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman,
    Revised 1967.
    ---. The New Walt Whitman Handbook, Revised 1986.
    Chase, Richard. Walt Whitman Reconsidered, 1955.
    Erkkila, Betsy, ed. Walt Whitman and the Critics: 1900-1978, 1980.
    ---. Whitman the Political Poet, 1988.
    Matthiessen, F. O. "Walt Whitman." American Renaissance, 1941.
    Miller, James E., Jr. A Critical Guide to "Leaves of Grass, 1957.
                                                                                       6



                      Outline on American Literature, 1865-1914
                                   Dr. Linda Tate


 I.    The American Novel, 1865-1914
       A. American novels prior to 1865 have commonly been considered romances which
            emphasize allegory, myth, and symbolism (e.g., the work of Cooper, Hawthorne, and
            Melville).
       B. After the Civil War, American writers turn more of their attention to the realistic
            novel with its emphasis on the growing American middle class and on the settling
            of American cities and outer regions (e.g., the work of Twain, Howells, James,
            Wharton, and Cather).
       C. Four areas dominate int his period: womens literature; realism; local color fiction;
            and naturalism.

II.    Womens Literature
       A. Prior to the Civil War, womens involvement in literature had been markedly on the
          rise--both as writers and as readers. Although Hawthorne had deemed them the
          damned mob of scribbling women, authors such as Fanny Fern (Ruth Hall), Harriet
          Beecher Stowe (Uncle Toms Cabin), Susan Warner (Wide, Wide World), Maria
          Susanna Cummins (The Lamplighter), E.D.E.N. Southworth (The Hidden Hand),
          Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), and Augusta Evans (St. Elmo) enjoyed immense
          popularity. These novels are known as sentimental novels or domestic novels
          and were largely written by women for women. They dominated the U.S. market
          from the 1840s until the 1880s.
       B. After the Civil War, women continued to make significant contributions to American
          literature (see especially Local Color Fiction, below). Writers such as Sarah Orne
          Jewett, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Kate Chopin, and Willa Cather helped to push the
          novel in new directions, although their efforts were often viewed pejoratively.

III.   Realism
       A. Social Context
            1. Shifting population: country to city, East to Midwest and West, railroads
               crisscrossing America, influx of immigrants
            2. Increasing industrialization, problems with exploited labor, crowded and
               unsanitary living conditions
            3. The massively rich vs. the massively poor
            4. Social problems increasingly at the fore (womens rights, African-American
               fight for civil rights, labor problems, sweat shops, overcrowded tenement
               buildings, etc.)
       B. The Literature of Argument
            1. Writers increasingly believed they had a duty to expose and confront social
               issues facing the masses of people.
            2. More and more forms of literature being developed: fiction, poetry, drama,
               history, sociology, psychology, and philosophy became vehicles for effecting
               change.
                                                                                    7


C.   Characteristics of Realism
     1.   Trueness of detail: specific and local details; local color; exaggerated dialect;
          full dialogue; the attempt to capture the world as it is; focus on the immediate
          world, the here and now; specific action with verifiable consequences; and the
          grounding of the text in the real world.
     2.   Typical characters: limited character types; normal experience; conflict between
          the individual and society; focus on the common man or the middle-class;
          socially determined characters; typical characters placed in typical situations in
          order to observe their reactions.
     3.   Objective presentation: avoidance of moralistic or didactic preaching; teaching
          of lessons through presentation of the objective, external truth; the showing of
          issues facing the masses of people by capturing the world as it is; scientific,
          rational approach; avoidance of emotionalism and sentimentality; truthful
          treatment of material; simple, natural, honest description; truth, sincerity,
          and natural vigor (all phrases from William Dean Howells).
D.   Key Figures in American Realism
     1.   William Dean Howells (1837-1920)
          a.    The most powerful figure of American letters during his lifetime
          b.    Editor of Atlantic Monthly and Harpers Monthly
          c.    Discovered and shaped the careers of several major writers (including
                Mark Twain)
          d.    As a literary critic, editor, and publisher, Howells felt that fiction should
                portray what he called the smiling aspects of life and thus played a
                fairly censoring role in the shaping of literature at the time.
          e.    Author of The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885) and A Hazard of New
                Fortunes (1890), among many other novels. Important for his role in
                detailing the lives of the emerging middle class.
     2.   Henry James (1843-1916)
          a.    Another major figure in the development of realism, particularly
                psychological realism.
          b.    The Art of Fiction stands out as his most important piece of literary
                criticism and theory, though he was quite prolific in this capacity. Used
                his critical writing to work out a theory of realism, which defined the
                novel as a personal, a direct impression of life which possesses the
                sense of reality and the novelist as someone who has the capacity for
                receiving straight impressions and who attempt[s] to render the look of
                things, the look that conveys their meaning, to catch the colour, the relief,
                the expression, the surface, the substance of the human spectacle (quotes
                taken from The Art of Fiction).
          c.    Author of numerous short stories, such as Daisy Real Thing (1879),
                The Aspern Papers (1888), and The Real Thing (1893).
          d.    Extremely important as the author of novels such as The Wings of the
                Dove (1902), The Turn of the Screw, Roderick Hudson (1876), The
                American (1877), Washington Square (1881), The Bostonians (1886), The
                Princess Casamassima (1886), and, most importantly, The Portrait of a
                Lady (1881).
     3.   Mark Twain (1835-1910)
                                                                                         8

                a.   A major figure in fusing the techniques and aims of realism and local color
                     (see below).
                b.   His literary criticism includes such humorous essays as How to Tell a
                     Story (which emphasizes the difficulty of communicating the oral
                     tradition in a written medium) and Fenimore Coopers Literary
                     Offenses (which outlines Twains demand for verisimilitude and
                     plausibility).
                c.   A master craftsman of the American short story, with particular skill in the
                     area of the tall tale. See, for example, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of
                     Calaveras County (1865).
                d.   The author of two autobiographies, Old Times on the Mississippi (1875)
                     and Life on the Mississippi (1883).
                e.   The author of several novels, including The Innocents Abroad (1869),
                     Roughing It (1872), Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), The Prince and
                     the Pauper (1882), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1889), Puddnhead
                     Wilson (1894), and the unfinished The Mysterious Stranger (1916).
                f.   Huck Finn stands out as one of the best American novels ever written,
                     debatably the single best American novel. Huck is the quintessential
                     American hero, an updated Natty Bumppo, the lone individual male
                     setting out to find himself, lighting out for the territory. Twain
                     objectively presents the events of the novel and the growing relationship
                     between Huck and the runaway slave Jim to make a point about a
                     problematic social issue. Although he warns us at the beginning of the
                     novel against finding a moral in the story, there is clearly one to be had,
                     but it is not one that is delivered through preaching, didacticism, or heavy-
                     handed allegory. Instead, as we get to know Huck and Jim, as we
                     eavesdrop on their conversations, as we see Hucks growing
                     understanding of Jim as a human being, we are challenged to consider how
                     we stereotype and interact with people different from us. Since its first
                     publication in the 1880s, Huck Finn has remained controversial and people
                     still argue about whether or not the book should be taught in schools and
                     should remain on library shelves. This would suggest that Twain still
                     strikes an uncomfortable chord with many readers and that hes admirably
                     fulfilling the realists most important goal: to expose social ills and
                     challenge readers to rethink their positions vis a vis these problems.
          4.    Edith Wharton
                a.   Write much in the tradition of Henry James
                b.   Focuses upon wealthy Americans and seeks to detail their lifestyles; her
                     works would be considered novels of manners
                c.   Key works include The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), and
                     The Age of Innocence (1920)

IV. Local Color Fiction
    A. Characteristics of Local Color Fiction
         1.   Details the speech, dialect, dress, mannerisms, habits of thought and topography
              peculiar to a particular region.
         2.   Local color fiction used many of the same techniques as realism but tended to be
              heavier in its use of humor, sentimentalism, and dialect.
                                                                                   9

     3.   Primarily a movement of short stories rather than novels (though there are some
          famous exceptions such as Twains Huck Finn, Chopins The Awakening, and
          Jewetts The Country of the Pointed Firs).

B.   Status of Local Color Fiction
     1.   Local color fiction is often considered a lesser literary movement, and such
          terms as local color and regional are often used to define an authors
          works pejoratively.
     2.   In some cases, local color fiction exists primarily to portray the people and life
          of a particular geographical area. Not surprisingly, this movement develops at a
          time when the American nation is expanding and thus at a time when Americans
          need information about unfamiliar areas (such as the South, the Appalachian
          Mountains, the West and the Midwest, the Creole/Cajun area, rural New
          England, and so on).
     3.   More recently, feminist critics have begun to suggest that local color writers
          (who were primarily women) were engaged in creating a serious literary
          movement which asked its readers to reconceptualize what they viewed as
          important and worthwhile in literature (asking them, for example, to view
          domestic and daily affairs as important enough to be at the center fiction).
          Jewetts The Country of the Pointed Firs is an important work to consider in
          this light.
C.   Key Writers of Local Color Fiction
     1.   Rebecca Harding Davis (West Virginia), whose story Life in the Iron-Mills
          (1861) should be viewed as a transition into local color and realism (away from
          sentimental fiction and romance).
     2.   Mark Twain (Midwest and South), whose stories and some novels can be
          considered local color to a great degree (e.g., The Jumping Frog of Calaveras
          County and Huck Finn).
     3.   Kate Chopin (Louisiana), whose stories are part of this movement (e.g., Bayou
          Folk [1894]) and whose most famous work, The Awakening (1899), blends
          elements of local color, realism, and naturalism.
     4.   Sarah Orne Jewett (Maine), whose novel The Country of the Pointed Firs
          (1896) stands as the preeminent example of serious, extended local color writing
          and as a feminist classic.
     5.   Mary Wilkins Freeman (New England), whose stories such as were collected in
          such volumes as A Humble Romance (1887) and A New England Nun (1891).
          These stories heavily reflect local color writing.
     6.   Charles Chesnutt (African-American South), whose stories of Uncle Julius (as
          collected in The Conjure Woman [1899]) challenged and revised the plantation
          tales of Joel Chandler Harris (The Uncle Remus Tales).
     7.   Bret Harte (West), whose collection The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other
          Sketches (1870) brought the emerging Wild West to life.
     8.   Hamlin Garland (Midwest), whose local color writing is included in such
          volumes as Main-Travelled Roads (1891) and A Son of the Middle Border
          (1917).
     9.   Mary Noilles Murfree (penname Charles Egbert Craddock, Appalachian), whose
          short story collection In the Tennessee Mountains (1884) stands as the first
          important written text from Appalachia.
                                                                                      10

        10.    Willa Cather (Nebraska and the Dakotas), whose novels O Pioneers! (1913), My
               Antonia (1918), The Song of the Lark (1915), and A Lost Lady (1923) celebrate
               the Plains and mourn their destruction as the railroad stretches across the United
               States. These novels borrow elements from local color and realism but could
               probably be more appropriately seen as forerunners to modernism.
V. Naturalism
   A. Characteristics of Naturalism
        1.    Very difficult to pin down, both in terms of technique/intent and in terms of
              dating (which could be stated as starting int he late nineteenth century and
              continuing well into the twentieth century).
        2.    A basic definition of naturalism: realism infused with pessimistic determinism.
              Like realists and local colorists, naturalists insist on documenting everyday life
              in true detail but do so with much more insistence on the role of such forces as
              heredity, society, environment, and so on.
        3.    Expanding this definition, we find that the naturalists tend to focus on the
              lowest manifestations of the common man, with emphasis on the extraordinary
              and excessive in human nature and with the foregrounding of acts of violence
              and passion which involve sexual adventure or bodily strength and which
              culminate in desperate moments and violent death (quotes from Donald Pizer).
               (It should be noted, however, that many works from this period--realist and
              naturalist--present bleak endings of death, suicide, and insanity. See, for
              example, realist works such as Chopins The Awakening, Jamess Daisy
              Miller, and Charlotte Perkins Gilmans short story The Yellow Wallpaper.
               See such naturalist works as Dreisers Sister Carrie, Steinbecks The Grapes of
              Wrath, and Wrights Native Son.)
        4.    Naturalists set their novels in the increasingly bleak, dirty, violent, and
              industrialized world of the late nineteenth century. Although characters in such
              novels might search for some transcendent truth beyond their brutish and harsh
              existences, the pessimistic determinism of naturalism almost always makes it
              impossible for them to do so. What you find in naturalist novels is an
              overwhelming emphasis on the bleak, harrowing, violent aspects of modern life.
               See such works as Dreisers Sister Carrie, Cranes Maggie: Girl of the Streets,
              Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath, Wrights Native Son, Norriss The Octopus,
              Sinclairs The Jungle.
   B. Key Figures in Nineteenth-Century Naturalism
        1.    Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945), whose novel Sister Carrie (1900) stands out as
              one of the true naturalist classics. Reading Sister Carrie would be a good
              introduction to naturalism.
        2.    Stephen Crane (1871-1900), whose novel The Red Badge of Courage (1895) is
              a classic statement of naturalism and whose other works (such as The Open
              Boat [1898] and Maggie: Girl of the Streets [1893]) bring to fictional life many
              of his experiences and observations as a journalist.
        3.    Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), whose novel The Jungle (1906), about the meat-
              packing industry in Chicago, is a prime example of the literature of
              argument, an attempt to expose the social ills facing masses of people.
        4.    Jack London (1876-1916), whose novel The Call of the Wild (1903) could be
              considered naturalism in its purest essence.
        5.    Frank Norris (1870-1902), whose novels McTeague (1899) and The Octopus
                                                                               11

          (1901) are masterpieces of degradation and despair, the octopus representing
          the transcontinental railroad system which Norris felt was squeezing Americans
          to death.



C.   Naturalism in the Twentieth Century (after 1920 or so)
     1.   Sinclair Lewiss Babbitt (1922) might be considered a naturalist treatment of
          the emerging middle-class businessman and the harrowing narrowness of his
          life.
     2.   John Dos Passoss U.S.A. Trilogy (collected 1938) is a sweeping look at the
          encroachment of modern life and a representative work of 1930s documentary-
          influenced fiction.
     3.   John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath (1939), which looks at the plight of
          Okies forced to move from Oklahoma to California in search of migrant farm
          work.
     4.   Richard Wrights Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945), which look with a
          harsh, unflinching eye at the plight of African-Americans in the modern United
          States.
     5.   Modernist writers such as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Saul
          Bellow are also influenced by naturalism to a great degree, as is dramatist
          Eugene ONeill.
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