Frank Norris’s Epic Romance of American Naturalism: The Pastoral Ideal and Evolutionary Immanence in The Octopus

Title
Frank Norris’s Epic Romance of American Naturalism: The Pastoral Ideal and Evolutionary Immanence in The Octopus
Other Titles
Frank Norris’s Epic Romance of American Naturalism: The Pastoral Ideal and Evolutionary Immanence in The Octopus
Author(s)
이준영
Keywords
The Octopus; Frank Norris; Naturalism; Industrial Capitalism; Romance; American Literature; Evolution; Immanence; The Octopus; Frank Norris; Naturalism; Industrial Capitalism; Romance; American Literature; Evolution; Immanence
Issue Date
201307
Publisher
미국소설학회
Citation
미국소설, v.20, no.2, pp.113 - 136
Abstract
The Octopus, a major novel of Frank Norris, has been harshly criticized by many scholars for inconsistency in its thematic and moral philosophy, which eventually led to a structural defect at the close of the novel. Their criticisms are very insightful and convincing but not substantial enough to explain clearly the contradictory forces related to both the thematic philosophy and the structural style of The Octopus, not paying enough attention to Frank Norris’s philosophical background of American naturalism, which is significantly different from its European counterpart, as well as his unique view and usage of romance as a literary genre. The controversial inconsistency of The Octopus is mainly due to its epic project of solving conflicts between the various contending forces of industrial capitalism. Therefore, this essay specifies at first the contending forces of the American West in The Octopus. Secondly, the conflicts between the contending forces are analysed as an extension of a traditional conflict in American literature, the collision between the pastoral ideal and the industrial machine in the landscape of nature. Finally, Norris’s controversial but sublime project of solving these conflicts by his philosophy of American naturalism is reconsidered in terms of his belief in evolutionary immanence as well as his distinct usage of “romance” as a literary genre. Consequently, it is very convincing to see that the novel achieves a certain degree of success in transcending the conflicts both by creating a sense of totality overcoming the antithetical tension between the pastoral America and the industrial capitalism and by achieving the epic-scale literary combination of romance and naturalism.
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/YU.REPOSITORY/29288
ISSN
1738-5784
Appears in Collections:
사범대학 > 영어교육과 > Articles
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