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The Vast and Terrible Drama, The Vast and Terrible Drama, 0817313850, 0-8173-1385-0, 978-0-8173-1385-2, 9780817313852, , , The Vast and Terrible Drama, 0817358854, 0-8173-5885-4, 978-0-8173-5885-3, 9780817358853, , , The Vast and Terrible Drama, 0817390898, 0-8173-9089-8, 978-0-8173-9089-1, 9780817390891,

The Vast and Terrible Drama
American Literary Naturalism in the Late Nineteenth Century
by Eric Carl Link

Trade Cloth
2004. 240 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s
E Book
2016. 238 pp.
Price:  $24.95 d

A broad treatment of the cultural, social, political, and literary under-pinnings of an entire period and movement in American letters.

The Vast and Terrible Drama is a critical study of the context in which authors such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, and Jack London created their most significant work. In 1896 Frank Norris wrote: "Terrible things must happen to the characters of the naturalistic tale. They must be twisted from the ordinary . . . and flung into the throes of a vast and terrible drama." There could be "no teacup tragedies here." This volume broadens our understanding of literary naturalism as a response to these and other aesthetic concerns of the 19th century.

Themes addressed include the traditionally close connection between French naturalism and American literary naturalism; relationships between the movement and the romance tradition in American literature, as well as with utopian fictions of the 19th century; narrative strategies employed by the key writers; the dominant naturalist theme of determinism; and textual readings that provide broad examples of the role of the reader. By examining these and other aspects of American literary naturalism, Link counters a century of criticism that has perhaps viewed literary naturalism too narrowly, as a subset of realism, bound by the conventions of realistic narration.

Eric Carl Link is Hugh Shott Professor of English at North Georgia College & State University and coauthor of Neutral Ground: New Traditionalism and the American Romance Controversy.
“Eric Carl Link’s book distinguishes itself from previous accounts of American literary naturalism by exploring the relationship of its participants with its dialogical social, political, and economic context. [ . . .] he creatively and successfully applies Bakhtinian theory to a genre and school of criticism to transform it into offering a variety of methodological approaches that permit it to engage post-structuralism and new historicism.”
Modern Language Review

“[ . . .} while The Vast and Terrible Drama joins an already hefty collection of critical work on the much-discussed literary style of naturalism, it also makes a unique and valuable contribution to it.
Hollins Critic

“[ . . . ] both of the book's larger goals -- to trace the rise of naturalism in antebellum romanticism and to link this particular critical project to earlier modes of scholarship -- will make the book useful for graduate students beginning to explore the field. It serves as a good introduction not only to naturalist writers, especially Norris, but to some of the central concerns of literary scholars in this field, specifically the novel's intervention in larger debates in science and economics. And it offers a powerful reminder, still necessary it seems, that literary criticism did not begin with deconstruction.
American Studies Review

"This work makes original and significant contributions to American literary scholarship. . . . Ranging from William Bradford in the 17th century to Theodore Dreiser in the early 20th, the book positions American literary naturalism in the appropriate, large-scale historical context both intellectual and artistic for theorizing about the school's discrete identity."--Joseph R. McElrath, author of Frank Norris Revisited

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