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AMS Press, Inc.
25 Van Zant Street, Unit 1B3
Norwalk, CT 06855-1702

Frank Norris and American Naturalism

By Donald Pizer

ISBN-10: 0-404-64491-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-404-64491-8
Price to be set.

AMS Studies in the Nineteenth Century, No. 61

“These essays on Frank Norris by Donald Pizer set the standard for Norris studies. With their elegance of expression, clarity of idea, and sheer originality, these essays not only helped shape our understanding of Norris and of American literary naturalism, but continue to serve as sources of inspiration for ongoing scholarly work to this day. Individually, these essays represent a brilliant tour through some of the key concepts and debates associated with the study of literary naturalism for the past half-century. Collectively, these essays stand as a monumental achievement in literary scholarship and a testament to Donald Pizer’s unparalleled contributions to the field over the course of his fine career.”

Eric Carl Link,
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Among Professor Pizer’s numerous insightful contributions to the understanding of major movements in American literary history and the novelists who created them, those of the past half-century focusing upon the author of Vandover and the Brute, McTeague, The Octopus, and The Pit rank among his best and most influential. Two generations of newly-minted scholars going on to make their own contributions to the understanding of authors like Norris known as Realists and Naturalists have been stimulated by his perceptive analyses. Not a chapter in this collection of his major contributions to Norris Studies should be skipped: as with all first-rate scholarship, each of Pizer’s essays either gently persuades as it informs or invites complementary perceptions of what Norris wrought in his canon.

Joseph R. McElrath,
Co-author of the definitive biography Frank Norris, A Life

Spanning sixty years of Donald Pizer’s meticulous research and insightful criticism, this collection brings together a range of essays that were instrumental in establishing the importance of Frank Norris in the U.S. literary canon. Pizer’s analysis of the philosophical coherence, intellectual depth, and moral intensity of Norrris’s work not only shaped the field of Norris studies but remains indispensable for any account of American literary naturalism. The collection will be invaluable to students, scholars, and indeed any novel reader who seeks to understand the way Norris’s fiction engaged and reflected the pivotal intellectual debates of his time.

Barbara Hochman,
Ben-Gurion University


Editorial Note and Acknowledgments


Introduction: The Literary Criticism of Frank Norris
Frank Norris’s Definition of Naturalism
Frank Norris and the Frontier as Popular Idea in America

Vandover and the Brute and McTeague

Evolutionary Ethical Dualism in Frank Norris’s Vandover and the Brute and McTeague
McTeague and American Naturalism
The Problem of Philosophy in the Novel
The Biological Determinism of McTeague in Our Time

The Popular Novels

The Masculine-Feminine Ethic in Frank Norris’s Popular Novels

The Octopus

Another Look at The Octopus
The Concept of Nature in Frank Norris’s The Octopus
Synthetic Criticism and Frank Norris: Or, Mr. Marx, Mr. Taylor, and The Octopus
Collis P. Huntington, William S. Rainsford, and the Conclusion of Frank Norris’s The Octopus
Notes Index