Article

Introduction: The naturalistic imagination and the aesthetics of excess

Keith Newlin

in The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195368932
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195368932.013.0000

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Introduction: The naturalistic imagination and the aesthetics of excess

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This introductory article begins with a brief discussion of how American literary naturalism remains a vibrant and active field, which each generation reinterpreting the genre according to the critical theories and cultural concerns of its time. It then discusses naturalism's receptivity to adaptation and its similarity to another genre, melodrama. Exploring naturalism as a version of melodrama is a useful way of understanding its many anomalies and inconsistencies. It suggests a way of reading naturalism that does not see it primarily in terms of evolutionary and deterministic philosophy applied to realism but rather in terms of popular narrative strategies, derived from melodrama, enlisted in support of a propagandistic cause.

Keywords: naturalism; melodrama; social issues; drama; realism; narrative strategies

Article.  7248 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.