Naturalist Fiction

Naturalist Fiction : The Entropic Vision

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This is the first major study of naturalist fiction as a distinct literary genre. It focuses mainly on French naturalist literature, analysing a number of key works in detail, but also draws examples from other national traditions, particularly from the English novel. Professor Baguley questions and revises many traditional assumptions on important theoretical issues such as the nature of literary history, the concepts of 'realism' and 'naturalism', and the relations between science and literature. He demonstrates the prevalence of certain recurrent generic patterns, themes and techniques in the general body of naturalist literature, ranging from disquieting tragic developments to the most outrageous ironic and parodic effects. He argues persuasively that, far from being a mere record of the external aspects of reality, naturalist fiction is a literature of 'scandalous' provocation which employs the strategies of realist art to convey a profoundly disturbing vision of that reality.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 300 pages
  • 139 x 215 x 17mm | 395g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Paperback Version ed.
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521021626
  • 9780521021623
  • 2,410,562

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Histories; 2. Theories: realism, naturalism, genre; 3. The founding texts; 4. The tragic model; 5. Comic strains; 6. In the ironic modes: naturalist satire and parody; 7. The 'scandal' of naturalism; 8. Naturalist description; 9. The entropic vision; 10. By way of conclusion: two English examples; Notes; Translations; Select bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

"...brilliant, richly detailed new introduction to naturalist fiction...It is impossible to give here an adequate idea of this book's rich complexity, subtlety, depth, sophistication, formal beauty. Baguley, master bibliographer as well as critic that he is, has read absolutely everything, or so it would seem...A product of the golden summer of contemporary criticism--full-blown, matured, mellowed, it exemplifies all that is best in it." Philip Walker, Nineteenth-Century French Studies "David Baguley has performed a real service to scholars of French literature and Naturalism with this work....takes a bold look at traditional and contemporary criticism, and exposes a vast array of naturalist texts in a manner that will not fail to captivate its reader." Marcia J. Thompson Diamond, French Review
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