Harold Bloom's American Naturalism PDF

By Harold Bloom

ISBN-10: 0791078973

ISBN-13: 9780791078976

ISBN-10: 1438114907

ISBN-13: 9781438114903

Determinism and self-reliance have been many of the features American authors sought to painting within the novels of this literary interval, reflecting a extra life like view of the rustic with the increase of industrialism within the past due nineteenth century. This identify, American Naturalism, a part of Chelsea residence Publishers' Bloom's interval experiences sequence, includes a choice of serious essays examining the writers and works that outlined this era. as well as a chronology of significant cultural, literary, and politcal occasions, this article comprises an creation and editor's be aware written by way of Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the arts, Yale college.

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The act of critical evaluation is best performed in a state of ideal aloofness from abstract systems. Its practitioner is not concerned with making up his mind about the ultimate character of reality but with observing and measuring its actual proportions and combinations within a given form. The presence of the real affects him directly, with an immediate force contingent upon the degree of interest, concreteness, and intensity in the impression of life conveyed by the literary artist. The philosopher can take such impressions or leave them, but luckily the critic has no such choice.

Henry James observes in his essay The Art of Fiction that it is above all “solidity of specification” that makes for the illusion of life—the air of reality—in a novel; and the truth of this dictum is borne out by the practice of the foremost modern innovators in this medium, such as Proust, Joyce, and Kafka. It is not, then, primarily the means employed to establish verisimilitude that fix the naturalist imprint upon a work of fiction. A more conclusive test, to my mind, is its treatment of the relation of character to Notes on the Decline of Naturalism 43 background.

And in any culture there are likely to be certain artists who contain a large part of the dialectic within themselves, their meaning and power lying in their contradictions; they contain within themselves, it may be said, the very 30 Lionel Trilling essence of the culture, and the sign of this is that they do not submit to serve the ends of any one ideological group or tendency. It is a significant circumstance of American culture, and one which is susceptible of explanation, that an unusually large proportion of its notable writers of the nineteenth century were such repositories of the dialectic of their times— they contained both the yes and the no of their culture, and by that token they were prophetic of the future.

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American Naturalism by Harold Bloom


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