Romancing the Machine

Zena Meadowsong

in The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195368932
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Romancing the Machine

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This article focuses on Èmile Zola's influence on American naturalism. Zola's historical vision—a vision of the world as man-made and mechanical in its operation—is, together with the formal consequences of that vision, the unifying feature of naturalism in France, England, and America. In late nineteenth-century America, as in Second Empire France, a period of rapid industrialization marked a shift from a predominantly agrarian to a highly mechanized and urban culture. Industrialization and urbanization in America resulted in a tradition of literary naturalism that shared Zola's a vision of the world as man-made—an urban, industrial world where human beings are subjected to mechanisms they themselves have created.

Keywords: historical vision; Èmile Zola; France; England; industrialization; urbanization

Article.  7554 words. 

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

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