The descent motif in the American naturalistic novel

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carol L. Stutts (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Robert Stephens

Abstract: The American Naturalistic novel has been called by many neople a novel of despair. It was a novel produced by currents of thought prevalent in the late nineteenth century --the scientific attitude, the theories of economic determinism, dialectical materialism, and mechanistic causation. Since the Naturalists took a scientific view of life, they were faced with the problem of converting non-literary ideas into literary terms. It is my thesis that the symbol which they chose for the converting of one type of communication into another was the descent motif. This motif, used most overtly in Classical and Hebraic literature, is an integral part of Western Culture. The Naturalists rebelled against contemporary attitudes and organized religion to assert their views of man and his place in the world. To sum up their attitude toward life they employed their own modification of the traditional descent motif.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Language: English
Date: 1963

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