American Naturalism (1704 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • Jude Davies (University of Winchester)


Literary naturalism denotes a particular genre of fiction that developed in the USA in the 1890s, associated principally with writers such as Abraham Cahan, Ellen Glasgow, David Graham Phillips, Jack London, and most prominently Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser. The term naturalism operates primarily in counterdistinction to realism, particularly the mode of realism codified in the 1870s and 1880s, and associated with William Dean Howells and Henry James.

It is important to clarify the relationship between American literary naturalism, with which this entry is primarily concerned, from the genre also known as naturalism that flourished in France from the 1850s to the 1880s. French naturalism, as exemplified by …

Davies, Jude. "American Naturalism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2001
[, accessed 24 October 2016.]