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American Literary Naturalism: Late Essays

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American Literary Naturalism: Late Essays

Longueur: 266 pages3 heures


The four initial essays in the “Specific Writers and Works” section display Pizer’s critical style in its characteristic varied and incisive form. The initial essay, an exercise in cross-discipline analysis, discusses the ways specific works by Crane, Dreiser, and Steinbeck reveal their author’s response to specific contemporary visual art works and reportage. The seconds offers a novel way of interpreting the naturalism of London’ archetypal story “To Light a Fire” by pointing out the weaknesses in Lee Clark Mitchell’s reading. The third centers on the usefulness of Norman Mailer’s essay on American Naturalism not only in its refutation of Lionel Trilling’s attack on the movement but in sharing with Trilling and others a misunderstanding of the central thrust of Theodore Dreiser’s work. And the fourth is a close reading of Dos Passos over the course of three works of his experience of the 1931 Harland Coal Strike to clarify his thinking of the best means for the artist both to represent and participate in the struggle for social justice in America.

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