American Naturalism Sam Chambers, Andrew Mcphail, Eamon O'farrel, Ian Ziolkowski

What is Naturalism?

The Naturalism movement was a movement of literature and art that focused more a on realistic perspective of the world. It also applied scientific principles to human beings, and creating a more dynamic world in pieces of literature, art, and plays. Naturalism brought attention to topics considered taboo in American society, and also developed a sense of pessimism to the artwork created during this period. Naturalist works often included, social Darwinism, detachment, determinism, and animal imagery. In general, naturalism focused on darker aspects of life, such as misery, poverty, and violence.

Naturalism grew out of realism. The American Naturalism movement began around the late 1800's and peaked at about 1915. Aspects of naturalism have continued to appear in American literature.

Examples of American Naturalist LITERATURE

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

The Pit by Frank Norris

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

American Naturalist Paintings

The Fox Hunt by Winslow Homer

A Frosty Morning by Sir George Clausen

Street Scene with Snow (57th Street, NYC.) by Robert Henri

This painting is from Ashcan School of Art. Ashcan art shows naturalist characteristics in their work. Note the dark tones and stormy weather.

Frank Norris

Benjamin Franklin Norris was the first significant American naturalist writer. He wrote many naturalist books, including and aforementioned The Pit, The Octopus, and McTeague.

examples of Naturalism in European Theatre

The Weavers (1892) (German)

Drayman Henschel (1898) (German)

Creditors (1889) (Sweden)


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