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  Subjects -> SOCIOLOGY (Total: 553 journals)
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Studies in American Naturalism
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ISSN (Print) 1931-2555 - ISSN (Online) 1944-6519
Published by U of Nebraska Homepage  [32 journals]
  • “Vast, Vague and Impersonal”: Statistics, Ecology, and the Aesthetics
           of Scale in Frank Norris’s The Octopus

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      Abstract: Near the end of Frank Norris’s The Octopus (1901), Presley, the poet-protagonist, is finally able to confront the man he holds responsible for the tragic events of the novel: Mr. Shelgrim, the owner of the Pacific, Southern, and Western Railroad, whom Presley blames for the financial, moral, and physical ruin of the wheat farmers he counts among his friends. Although Presley imagines Shelgrim to be “the master . . . the man whose power was so vast, whose will was so resistless, whose potency for evil so limitless,” anyone familiar with the genre of naturalism would likely predict that Presley will be disappointed in his desire to assign blame (570). As Lee Clark Mitchell has noted, “realism assumes that individuals ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Through “the rose window of the west”: Nostalgia, Gothicism, and the
           Imaginary in Theodore Dreiser’s A Hoosier Holiday

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      Abstract: In August 1915, Theodore Dreiser traveled with fellow Hoosier, Franklin Booth, from New York to Indiana. For Dreiser, the journey was long overdue. In a February 1916 letter to H. L. Mencken, Dreiser confesses that this was something “which I have been wanting to do for years—a sort of native heath, back home—here I once spent my boyhoods happy days stunt, only in this case I have used it as a means of sizing up the middle west and interpreting American character as well as tossing in a little personal history” (Dreiser-Mencken Letters 218–19). The resulting text, A Hoosier Holiday, conveys Dreiser’s assessment of America at a time of dramatic cultural change and narrates a psychological journey through time and ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Theodore Dreiser and the Concept of the Social

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      Abstract: As far as the eye could see were carriages, the one great social diversion of Chicago, because there was otherwise so little opportunity for many to show that they had means. The social forces were not as yet clear or harmonious. Jingling harnesses of nickel, silver, and even plated gold were the sign manual of social hope, if not achievement.[“]Our family wasn’t ever in society . . . and I haven’t been much of anything except a slave . . . [”]Dreiser’s fiction accords immense explicatory force to something, or some things, called “society” and the “social.”1 But what exactly do these terms mean to Dreiser' While his texts are now often read as perceptive cultural histories of American society, what often remains ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • “This place killed him”: Reservation Dogs Flirts with
           Naturalism

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      Abstract: The opening episode of the first season of the television series Reservation Dogs (FX-Hulu, 2021–22) introduces the viewer to Daniel, a young man who has died one year before the beginning of the action of the series. The audience learns of the young man’s death via a class video project, to which a student named Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) supplies the narrative:This is Daniel. He died last year. . . . This place killed him. That’s why we’re saving our money so we can leave this dump before it kills us too.In this same episode, Elora (Devery Jacobs) also articulates what she sees as the dangers of staying in the small Oklahoma town: “That’s why Daniel’s gone, cuz this place killed him. I’m not letting it kill me” ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • The Selected Literary Letters of Paul Laurence Dunbar ed. by Cynthia C.
           Murillo and Jennifer M. Nader (review)

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      Abstract: Already acknowledged as an important figure in the rise of African American literature and culture at the turn of the twentieth century, Paul Laurence Dunbar nonetheless remains a somewhat elusive and underexamined presence who made significant contributions to nearly every published genre during his brief career. Although long familiar as a poet who divided his efforts between dialect and conventional verse, his novel The Sport of the Gods has been increasingly recognized as a canonical work of literary naturalism on par with Stephen Crane’s Maggie and Frank Norris’s McTeague for its unvarnished portrait of urban America during the tumultuous Progressive era. Much of his other work, including three additional ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Jack London and the Sea by Anita Duneer (review)

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      Abstract: Anita Duneer’s discerning and informative Jack London and the Sea is the first book-length study of the maritime influences, themes, and sources in the writing of Jack London. Through London’s sea writing, Duneer explores how the author depicts “big philosophical ideas about race, heredity, gender roles, and sexuality, individuality, and community, human difference and common humanity” (2). Duneer asserts: “Like his American predecessors, London envisioned new American characters, whose ideologies of self and the world are challenged by the brutal forces of nature and exposure to social and cultural differences” (3). The crucial opposition in London’s maritime writing for Duneer is the juxtaposition of the ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Combating Injustice: The Naturalism of Frank Norris, Jack London, &
           John Steinbeck by Jon Falsarella Dawson (review)

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      Abstract: In Combating Injustice: The Naturalism of Frank Norris, Jack London, and John Steinbeck, Jon Falsarella Dawson argues that “social criticism offers a unifying thread” to understand the major works of these authors (2). Economic determinism—the notion that economic factors predicate social, political, and cultural structures—is of central importance to the interpretation of social criticism throughout Combating Injustice. Its central thesis is that Norris, London, and Steinbeck used their work to drive social change through their representations of characters who actively sought to combat the injustices that the effects of economic determinism had brought to them. Chapter titles such as “Twisted from the Ordinary,” ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane by Paul Auster (review)

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      Abstract: Paul Auster’s Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane takes on the significant task of constructing a biography of Stephen Crane and analyzing his major and minor works. In a text that is at once detailed and sweeping, Auster writes to expose those unfamiliar with Crane’s writing to the breadth and interest of his works, to assess how Crane’s style developed into its objective, vibrant realism, and to explore Crane’s relevance for contemporary readers. Although it is not a formal criticism, Auster’s work is valuable both as a biography and literary analysis. Yet it offers its most significant contributions in its discussion of Crane’s works, which are contextualized with his life, correspondence, and ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • The Nadir and the Zenith: Temperance and Excess in the Early African
           American Novel by Anna Pochmara (review)

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      Abstract: Anna Pochmara’s The Nadir and the Zenith is an excellent study of melodrama and temperance in late nineteenth-century fiction. Over the course of this concise and well-structured text, Pochmara seeks to achieve five goals. The first is a historical-aesthetic reclamation of the Nadir era, “the historical moment when black people’s status reached its lowest point” (1), as a productive period for African American fiction as prolific and multi-faceted. The second is defining the political consciousness of this era and type of literature. Third, Pochmara defines the political locus of the genre of naturalism as utilized by African American authors during the Nadir era. Fourth, Pochmara argues for the affective force of ... Read More
      PubDate: 2023-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
       
 
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