An overview of the philosophy behind the naturalist movement

A few educational theorists view the education of the child as an unfolding process. The child develops inevitably as a product of nature, and the main function of the teacher is to provide the optimum conditions for that development.

An overview of the philosophy behind the naturalist movement

This literary movement, like its predecessor, found expression almost exclusively within the novel. Naturalism also found its greatest number of practitioners in America shortly before and after the turn of the twentieth century.

A poor immigrant could not escape their life of poverty because their preconditions were the only formative aspects in his or her existence that mattered.

The theories of Charles Darwin are often identified as playing a role in the development of literary Naturalism; however, such a relationship does not stand up to investigative rigor.

Darwin never applied his theories to human social behavior, and in doing so many authors seriously abused the actual science. There was in the late nineteenth century a fashion in sociology to apply evolutionary theory to human social woes.

This line of thinking came to be knows as Social Darwinism, and today is recognized as the systematized, scientific racism that it is. More than a few atrocities in world history were perpetrated by those who misguidedly applied Darwinism to the social realm.

Naturalism, for better or worse, is in some respects a form of Social Darwinism played out in fiction One could make the case that Naturalism merely a specialized variety of Realism. In fact, many authors of the period are identified as both Naturalist and Realist.

Edith Wharton for one is frequently identified as perfectly representative of both aesthetic frameworks. However, Naturalism displayed some very specific characteristics that delimit it from the contemporary literature that was merely realistic.

The environment, especially the social environment, played a large part in how the narrative developed. The locale essentially becomes its own character, guiding the human characters in ways they do not fully realize. Plot structure as such was secondary to the inner workings of character, which superficially resembles how the Realists approached characterization.

The work of Emile Zola provided inspiration for many of the Naturalist authors, as well as the work of many Russian novelists. It would be fairer to assert that all Naturalist fiction is Realist, but not all Realist fiction is Naturalist. The dominant theme of Naturalist literature is that persons are fated to whatever station in life their heredity, environment, and social conditions prepare them for.

The power of primitive emotions to negate human reason was also a recurring element. Writers like Zola and Frank Norris conceived of their work as experiments in which characters were subjected to various stimuli in order to gauge reactions.

Adverse social conditions are taken as a matter of fact. The documentary style of narrative makes no comment on the situation, and there is no sense of advocating for change.

The Naturalist simply takes the world as it is, for good or ill. The Naturalist novel is then a sort of laboratory of fiction, with studies underway that ethically could not be performed in the real world.

History of Naturalism |

The work of French novelist and playwright Emile Zola is often pinpointed as the genesis of the Naturalist movement proper.

His most famous contribution to Naturalism was Les Rougon-Macquart, a sweeping collection of 20 novels that follow two families over the course of five generations.

One of the families is privileged, the other impoverished, but they each stumble into decay and failure. The action takes place during the rule of Napoleon III, a time of great uncertainty for the French people. The atmosphere in Paris, as well as in the novels, was one of dread and uncertainty.

An overview of the philosophy behind the naturalist movement

Zola crafts over characters for his epic, yet on the whole they are rather thinly drawn. His concern is not with character as such, but how characters react to circumstances. Often, an inanimate object or place is given as much potency as a human character.

There is a clinical aspect to his craft that is echoed in his descriptions of novel-writing as a form of science. Later writers would concur, citing Zola as their major inspiration in pursuing the Naturalist aesthetic in literature.

A Girl of the Streets. Crane spent a great deal of time in the Bowery of lower Manhattan gathering material for his first novel. Like a research scientist accumulating data, Crane wanted to learn as much as he could about life for the impoverished, mostly immigrant residents.

Maggie was unusual for the time in that it perfectly reproduced the ostensibly vulgar dialect of the persons portrayed. An earlier novel treating the same subject may have romanticized the immigrant life, but Crane portrayed abject poverty exactly as it was.

The book was not a great seller, and he lost a hefty sum of money on the venture, but those who did read it saw the promise of a new talent in American literature.

Like many of his fellow American novelists, Crane began his career as a journalist, and he continued to travel and report on international stories for the remainder of his career.

His total contributions to the body of literature were relatively small, as he died before his thirtieth birthday.Naturalism The logical outgrowth of literary Realism was the point of view known as Naturalism. This literary movement, like its predecessor, found expression almost exclusively within the novel.

Realism: Realism, in philosophy, the viewpoint which accords to things which are known or perceived an existence or nature which is independent of whether anyone is thinking about or perceiving them. The history of Western philosophy is checkered with disputes between those who have defended forms of.

Pragmatism. Pragmatism is a philosophical movement that includes those who claim that an ideology or proposition is true if it works satisfactorily, that the meaning of a proposition is to be found in the practical consequences of accepting it, and that unpractical ideas are to be rejected.

Naturalism in American Literature. For a much more extensive description than appears on this brief page, see the works listed in the naturalism bibliography . As indicated by the above characterization of the mid-twentieth-century American movement, naturalism can be separated into an ontological and a methodological component.

the second to methodological naturalism. Of course, naturalist commitments of both ontological and methodological kinds can be significant in areas other than philosophy. Synopsis. Though never a coherent group, Realism is recognized as the first modern movement in art, which rejected traditional forms of art, literature, and social organization as outmoded in the wake of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

Pragmatism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy