The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism

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The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism offers twenty-eight original essays about an important genre that typically depicts human beings as the product of biological and environmental forces over which they have little control. Drawing upon recent scholarship as well as innovations in cultural studies, contributors offer an authoritative and in-depth reassessment of a genre that included writers from Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, and Jack London to Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Upton Sinclair, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Richard Wright, Joyce Carol Oates, Cormac McCarthy, and Don DeLillo. Organized by topic and theme, essays explore the contexts that prompted the origins of the genre, the problem of definition and the interconnections with other genres, and the scientific and philosophical background. Others examine the tensions with the genre-the role of women and African-American writers, depictions of sexuality, the problem of race, the critique of commodity culture and class, and the continuing presence of naturalism in twentieth- and twenty-first century fiction. Contributors also consider the role of the marketplace in the development of naturalism as well as the popular and critical response and the influence of naturalism in the other arts.