Naturalism and Crime

Gary Scharnhorst

in The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Naturalism and Crime

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This article focuses on the relationship between naturalism and crime. Both utopian writers and literary naturalists at the turn of the twentieth century believed that crime was a “disease” that could be eradicated. The two groups differed, however, in the “nature versus nurture” debate. Whereas the utopians believed that criminals could be “cured,” the early naturalists believed that criminal diseases could only be bred out of the human stock over generations, much as an epidemic may be controlled and slowly ameliorated over time.

Keywords: literary naturalists; utopian writers; crime

Article.  7614 words. 

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

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