Will Cuppy: How to Tell Your Friends from the Apes

(2928 words)

In the United States, the 1930’s saw a recrudescence of literary naturalism as authors resumed their interest in “scientific” and “objective” depiction of characters and their material circumstances. Inspired initially by Emile Zola, American naturalists asserted that the actions and the nature of humans were determined by evolutionary and biological forces beyond rational control. The inspiring results of these forces are depicted in a dispassionate and “objective” manner. For a few, naturalistic assumptions about the human condition led to an ineluctable dark humor that provided minimal relief from life’s exigencies (Jacobs, 287-94).

One such author was the popular New York literary …

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Citation:
Castle, Alfred. "How to Tell Your Friends from the Apes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 February 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=25840, accessed 22 October 2014.]