American Naturalism by Harold Bloom

By Harold Bloom

Determinism and self-reliance have been a number of the features American authors sought to painting within the novels of this literary interval, reflecting a extra practical view of the rustic with the increase of industrialism within the overdue nineteenth century. This name, American Naturalism, a part of Chelsea apartment Publishers' Bloom's interval reports sequence, incorporates a collection of severe essays studying the writers and works that outlined this era. as well as a chronology of significant cultural, literary, and politcal occasions, this article contains an advent and editor's notice written via Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the arts, Yale college.

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He was, like Twain and Whitman, an organic artist; he wrote what he knew—what he was. His many colloquialisms were part of the coinage of his time, and his sentimental and romantic passages were written in the language of the educational system and the popular literature of his formative years. In his style, as in his material, he was a child of his time, of his class. ” No doubt Dreiser was an organic artist in the sense that he wrote what he knew and what he was, but so, I suppose, is every artist; the question for criticism comes down to what he knew and what he was.

If we are to talk of bookishness, it is Dreiser who is bookish; he is precisely literary in the bad sense; he is full of flowers of rhetoric and shines with paste gems; at hundreds of points his diction is not only genteel but fancy. ” Colloquialism held no real charm for him and his natural tendency is always toward the “fine”: ... Moralists come and go; religionists fulminate and declare the pronouncements of God as to this; but Aphrodite still reigns. Embowered in the festal depths of the spring, set above her altars of porphyry, chalcedony, ivory and gold, see her smile the smile that is at once the texture and essence of delight, the glory and despair of the world!

Figs. 1 and 1´ are normally in virtual correspondence with each other. Sometimes the artist spoils this ideal relation by “turning away from” reality. This results in certain fantastic works, unreal and ultimately useless. It does not occur to Parrington that there is any other relation possible between the artist and reality than this passage of reality through the transparent artist; he meets evidence of imagination and creativeness with a settled hostility the expression of which suggests that he regards them as the natural enemies of democracy.

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