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Thread: Naturalism in Brit Lit???

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    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    Question Naturalism in Brit Lit???

    hey guys, I'm binging on Jane Austen at the moment and I'm thirsting for a book with lots of blood, booze and poverty to read afterwards. so I was wondering is there Naturalism in Brit Lit at all? Are there any British Naturalist novels? It's got to be Brit Lit because I'll take my graduation exams in Brit Lit. but if you'd like to recommend an American Naturalist novel, it's OK, too. THANKS

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    The closest thing I think British literature has to naturalism is probably Thomas Hardy. But for the real naturalism, I think you would have to get a translation of Emile Zola (French). No attempts at anything resembling naturalism come close to Zola.

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    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    thanks JBI I was going to read Hardy after Austen anyway as part of my long slog through the 19th century.
    why is there no Naturalism in Brit Lit? Did Realism suffice to knock out their tender psyches?

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Naturalism came at the end of realism, and as Modernism was about to be kicked off. During that time Victorian literature was prevalent, and modernist literature was getting ready. Society wasn't the same in England as in France (because of all the men who died in colonial wars, and therefore created a surplus of women), and therefore the English audience wasn't really ready to accept naturalism the same way as France. Plus the fact that naturalism was a rather minor movement compared to the movements it was sandwiched in between. I would argue that when someone says naturalist, they are essentially saying like Zola, since he is by far the only true example.

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    Tu le connais, lecteur... Kafka's Crow's Avatar
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    Read Zola's Germinale or La Debacle (or any of Les Rougon-Macquart novels for that matter). I read them when I was studying 'Eng Lit' but I consider myself lucky that I made that choice. There is no true exponent of naturalism in English Literature. If you want a gory book, read Germinale, it has some of the most graphic scenes of mob-violence:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Rougon-Macquart
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    Registered User rachel_bookworm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    The closest thing I think British literature has to naturalism is probably Thomas Hardy.
    Yes I agree Hardy is known for his use of naturalism in the majority of his novels. Tess of the D'Urbervilles is about the conflict between nature and the forecoming industrial wave. Excellent book, with a nice love story to throw in

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    There are a few writers in dutch who wrote naturalisticly.

    Marcellus Emants (Juffrouw Lina- Miss Lina)
    Cyriel Buysse (Het gezin van Paemel- The family of Paemel, a play)
    Stijn Streuvels
    Louis Couperus (Eline Vere and Van oude mensen, de dingen die voorbij gaan... - Of old people, the things that pass...)

    Maybe they have been translated in english or another language. Louis Couperus has certainly been translated, as there is an add about him on wikipedia...
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    nobody said it was easy barbara0207's Avatar
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    I don't know about naturalists in Brit lit either. But if you want poverty, booze and a bit of blood or violence, you might read "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt or "Dubliners" by James Joyce.
    O schaurig ists übers Moor zu gehn,
    wenn es wimmelt vom Heiderauche,
    sich wie Phantome die Dünste drehn
    und die Ranke häkelt am Strauche.


    Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (1797 - 1843) (see avatar) Der Knabe im Moor/The Lad in the Moor

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbara0207 View Post
    I don't know about naturalists in Brit lit either. But if you want poverty, booze and a bit of blood or violence, you might read "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt or "Dubliners" by James Joyce.
    Neither of those are naturalist. I haven't read Angela's Ashes, but I know for a fact Dubliners is very, very far way from naturalism.

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    nobody said it was easy barbara0207's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    Neither of those are naturalist. I haven't read Angela's Ashes, but I know for a fact Dubliners is very, very far way from naturalism.
    Of course they're not naturalist. But as there don't seem to be any in Brit lit (at least no good ones) and Sleepy is in desperate need of booze, poverty and blood, I suggested these two books.
    O schaurig ists übers Moor zu gehn,
    wenn es wimmelt vom Heiderauche,
    sich wie Phantome die Dünste drehn
    und die Ranke häkelt am Strauche.


    Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (1797 - 1843) (see avatar) Der Knabe im Moor/The Lad in the Moor

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    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    thanks barbara. I've already read Angela's Ashes, 'Tis and Teacher Man.
    but I'll give the Dubliners a go

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    Stephen Crane, especially "The Red Badge of Courage"; American naturalism.

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    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebish View Post
    Stephen Crane, especially "The Red Badge of Courage"; American naturalism.
    thanks

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    I can recommend quite a few American naturalists. As to British, Hardy and George Eliot come to mind, and even DH. Lawrence uses naturalism, though he goes beyond it. As to American novelists, yes, Stephan Crane, but i think Maggie: A Girl of the Streets would fit your criteria more than Red Badge. Other writers to look into: Theodore Drieser and Frank Norris and Edith Wharton and Jack London. It seems like American writers were more captivated by naturalism than British. One novel which I really enjoyed (although perhaps not quite naturalism, but certainly along those elements) is James T. Farrell's Studs Lonigan trilogy.
    Last edited by Virgil; 03-26-2008 at 08:27 AM.
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    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    thanks Virge
    what, Edith Wharton is a Naturalist? How did I manage to read both The Age of Innocence and Ethan Frome and not notice? yeah, I guess Ethan Frome is quite Naturalist.

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