English 567
Seminar in Prose Fiction: Transatlantic Naturalisms
Spring 2008, Tuesdays 2:50-5:30, Avery 110

Donna Campbell Avery 357; 335-4831; campbelld@wsu.edu
Office Hours: T Th 12-1 and by appointment
Virtual Office Hours: Send an instant message at any time to drcampbell6676@hotmail.com, drcampbell6676@aol.com, drcampbell6676@gmail.com, or drcampbell6676@yahoo.com; call me on Skype at drcampbell6676

Course materials available at http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/engl567/index.html, in elearning.wsu.edu or a private web link.

Required Texts

Norris, Frank



Norton Critical/ 0393970132

Wharton, Edith

The House of Mirth


Norton Critical/ 0393959015

Chopin, Kate

At Fault


Penguin / 0142437026

Zola, Emile



Oxford World /019283813X

Dunbar, Paul Laurence

The Sport of the Gods and Other Essential Writings


Modern Library/ 0812972791

Moore, George

Esther Waters


Oxford World / 0192837125

London, Jack

Martin Eden


Penguin / 0140187723

Dreiser, Theodore

An American Tragedy


Signet / 045152770

Hardy, Thomas

Tess of the D'Urbervilles


Penguin / 0141439599

Crane, Stephen

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Short Fiction


Bantam / 0553213555

Some required texts are online. Links to readings can be found on the Readings page.

Recommended Collections

Bloom, Harold American Naturalism (Chelsea House, 2004) 0791078973
Pizer, Donald. Documents of American Realism and Naturalism (at NetLibrary).

This course explores late nineteenth-century literary naturalism, a movement praised for its commitment to truth and objectivity by its practitioners and condemned as sordid, shocking, and a trend that "reduces literature, art, and morals to anarchy” by its critics. Among the ideas we will examine in the naturalistic works to be read this semester are the following:

  • Fictions of the body; subjectivity and consciousness; biological and hereditary traits, including problematic theories of race and ethnicity; atavism, disease, and degeneration; sexuality and its various expressions; primitivism and emotional excess.
  • Constructions of the city and its crowds: the city as organism; bodies en masse, including mobs, crowds, and crowd psychology; the urban jungle, Social Darwinism, and the possibility or impossibility of reform.
  • Concepts of space and the environment, including built and natural environments; prisons and entrapment; the function of material objects and processes; the antiromantic indifference of nature; destruction of and by nature.
  • Representations of consciousness and interrogations of the concept of consciousness, as in theories drawn from William James and Freud; repetition and instinctual behavior.
  • Commodity and consumer culture: the desiring self; commodity fetishism; department stores, advertising, and the role of text in constructing subjectivity.
  • Technology and machine culture: the body as machine (Seltzer); machines and corporations as bodies (Michaels); the powers of technology, including industrial capitalism.
  • Theories of scientific and philosophical determinism; the real, the “true,” and the “accurate”; philosophical coherence and emotional logic; naturalistic representation and its critics.
  • Narration and genre: “objective” representation; the spectator; features of style and form (e.g., the naturalistic catalogue of decay).
  • Gambling, speculation, risk and risky behavior; the vagaries of fate and accident and their relation to determinism; impulse and restraint

Schedule of Assignments

This schedule is tentative; the list of secondary sources is subject to change. Copies of secondary materials will be made available in class or online.

See the Readings page for updates on the readings and full bibliographic citations for them.















Norris, McTeague (bibliography)

  • Neta: Fleissner, from Women, Compulsion, Modernity (handout)
  • Jessica: Pizer, "Late Nineteenth-Century American Naturalism" in McTeague, 306-311
  • Julie: Michaels, from The Gold Standard and the Logic of Naturalism (handout)
  • Lisa: Young, "Telling Descriptions: Frank Norris's Kinetoscopic Naturalism and the Future of the Novel, 1899," Modernism/Modernity 14 (2007): 645-668.
  • selected articles from the NCE








Zola, L'Assommoir

  • Julie: Zola, "The Experimental Novel" (handout)
  • Neta: Lehan, pp. 177-202 in American Naturalism (handout)
  • Jessica: Link, "The Naturalist Aesthetic"
  • Lisa: Wilson, Colette. "City Space and the Politics of Carnival in Zola's L'assommoir." French Studies 58.3 (2004): 343-56.








Moore, Esther Waters (bibliography)

  • Lisa: Virginia Woolf, “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown” (handout)
  • Jessica: O'Toole, Tess. "The Servant's Body: The Victorian Wet-Nurse and George Moore's Esther Waters." Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 25.4 (1996): 329-49.
  • Neta: Youngkin, Molly. "George Moore's Quest for Canonization and Esther Waters as Female Helpmate." English Literature in Transition (1880-1920) 46.2 (2003): 116-39.
  • Julie: George Moore, from Confessions of a Young Man and "Ode to a Beggar Girl"








Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles (bibliography)

  • Julie: Gillian Beer, from Darwin's Plots
  • Jessica: Raymond Williams, from The Country and the City
  • Neta: Law, Jules. 'A Passing Corporeal Blight': Political Bodies in Tess of the D'Urbervilles." Victorian Studies 40 (1997): 245-70. (also in Ebsco; look up in the MLA Bibliography)
  • Lisa Poole, Adrian. "Men's Words and Hardy's Women." Tess of the D'Urbervilles. 3rd ed.

Proposal for Paper 1







Presentation: Neta Hoff

Chopin, At Fault (bibliography)

  • Fluck, Winfried.. "Kate Chopin's At Fault: The Usefulness of Louisiana French for the Imagination." Creoles and Cajuns: French Louisiana-La Louisiane Française. Ed. Wolfgang Binder: Peter Lang, Frankfurt, Germany Pagination: 247-66, 1998. 340.
  • Menke, Pamela Glenn. "The Catalyst of Color and Women's Regional Writing: At Fault, Pembroke, and the Awakening." Southern Quarterly 37.3-4 (1999): 9-20.
  • Anderson, Maureen. "Unraveling the Southern Pastoral Tradition: A New Look at Kate Chopin's at Fault." Southern Literary Journal 34.1 (2001): 1-13.
  • Witherow, Jean. "Kate Chopin's Dialogic Engagement with W. D. Howells: 'What Cannot Love Do?'" Southern Studies 13.3-4 (2006): 101-16.








Presentation: Jessica Edwards
Crane, Maggie and "The Monster" (Bibliography on Maggie) (Bibliography on "The Monster")

  • Gandal, from The Virtues of the Vicious (handout)
  • Lawson, Andrew. "Class Mimicry in Stephen Crane's City." American Literary History 16.4 (2004): 596-
  • Seltzer, from Bodies and Machines (handout)

Paper 1







Wharton, The House of Mirth (bibliography)

  • (all) Wolff, Ammons, Pizer, "Bad Critical Writing"
  • Neta: Showalter in NCE
  • Lisa: Kassanoff (handout)
  • Julie: Hochman (handout)
  • Jessica: Dimock (handout)








Women's naturalism?

  • Wharton, "Bunner Sisters" (.doc format) (.pdf format)
  • Freeman, "A New England Nun" (.doc format) (.pdf format)
  • Freeman, "Old Woman Magoun" (.doc format) (.pdf format)
  • Campbell, Donna. "'Where Are the Ladies?' Wharton, Glasgow, and American Women Naturalists." Studies in American Naturalism 1.1-2 (2006): 152-69.
  • Elbert, Monika M. "The Displacement of Desire: Consumerism and Fetishism in Mary Wilkins Freeman's Fiction." Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 19.2 (2002): 192-215. (also here)
  • Lehan, Richard. "Naturalism and the Realms of the Text: The Problem Restated." Studies in American Naturalism 1.1-2 (2006): 15-29. (handout)

    (Begin reading An American Tragedy)








Spring Break 3/14-3/18









Proposal for Paper 2



Dreiser, An American Tragedy








Presentation: Lisa Anderson

Dunbar, The Sport of the Gods (bibliography)

  • Lisa: Rosk, Nancy Von. "Coon Shows, Ragtime, and the Blues: Race, Urban Culture, and the Naturalist Vision in Paul Laurence Dunbar's the Sport of the Gods." Twisted from the Ordinary: Essays on American Literary Naturalism. Ed. Mary E. Papke. Tennessee Studies in Literature (Tstl) Number: 40. Knoxville, TN: U of Tennessee P, 2003. 144-68. (handout)
  • Julie: Inge, Casey. "Family Functions: Disciplinary Discourses and (De) Constructions of the 'Family' in the Sport of the Gods." Callaloo 20.1 (1997): 226-42.
  • Jessica: Morgan, Thomas L. "The City as Refuge: Constructing Urban Blackness in Paul Laurence Dunbar's the Sport of the Gods and James Weldon Johnson's the Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man." African American Review 38.2 (2004): 213-37. (handout)
  • Neta: Jarrett, Gene Andrew. "Second-Generation Realist; or, Dunbar the Naturalist." African American Review 41.2 (2007): 289-94.








Presentation: Julie Meloni

L ondon, Martin Eden

  • Reesman, Auerbach, and critical essays on London
  • from Dudley, A Man's Game





Paper 2 due to respondents



Workshop: journal publication

Guest speaker: Augusta Rohrbach, Editor of ESQ





Paper 2 due



Ann Petry, The Street




Paper presentations


Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation. Attendance and good class participation are essential.

Papers . You’ll write two papers in this course, the first a conference-length (8-10 pages) treatment of a topic, and the second an extended paper (15-25 pages; page limits are flexible) suitable for submitting to the journal of your choice or for using as the basis of a dissertation chapter. The first paper can be based on your presentation topic, if you wish, or it can form the basis for your longer paper. The presentations at the end of the course will be based on the longer paper, which you’ll need to edit down to conference length.

Proposals and Responses. Since one of your professional responsibilities as scholars will be to submit proposals to conference, you’ll prepare a 200-300 word proposal for each of the papers you will write in this class. These will receive comments but not grades. You’ll also prepare a response to a classmate’s paper during the last two weeks of class, which you will then deliver as part of the conference-style presentations at the end of the course.

Late Papers and Extensions. Late papers are penalized at the rate of one letter grade (10 points) per class day late; a paper that would have received a "B" on the due date will receive a "C" if handed in on the next class day. If no paper is turned in within 4 class days (due date plus three more days), no credit will be given and a 0 will be averaged in for that portion of your course grade.

You have one 48-hour extension in this class. This extension means that your paper will be due on the next class day, which could be more than 48 hours.You must request the extension ahead of time, and you should save it for a true emergency, since no other extensions will be granted for illness, funerals, weddings, or any other reason.

Plagiarism Policy. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else's words or ideas. This definition includes not only deliberately handing in someone else's work as your own but failing to cite your sources, including Web pages and Internet sources. Penalties for plagiarism range from an F on the paper to failing the course. If you turn in a plagiarized paper, at a minimum you will receive a grade of F (0 points). You will not be allowed to rewrite the paper, and the incident must be reported to the Office of Student Conduct (http://www.conduct.wsu.edu/academicIntegrity.asp).

Presentations. Each member of the class will give a 30-minute presentation at one point during the semester. This might take any one of several forms: preparing information about the author or authors assigned for that day and presenting a set of new ideas or questions for the class to consider; giving a new interpretation of the work; providing a contextual overview of an author or work; or analyzing and critiquing current critical perspectives. You will need to provide a brief handout for the class, preferably one that includes a short annotated bibliography of your sources, an outline, and relevant quotations or information from your sources. During the last week of class, you'll present a conference-length version of your second paper to the rest of the class.

WSU Statement on Academic Integrity. As an institution of higher education, Washington State University is committed to principles of truth and academic honesty. All members of the University community share the responsibility for maintaining and supporting these principles. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. To maintain the academic integrity of the community, the University cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty.

WSU Statement on Disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented disability. Please notify the instructor during the first week of class of any accommodations needed for the course. Late notification may mean that requested accommodations might not be available. All accommodations must be approved through the Disability Resource Center (DRC) located in the Administration Annex

Approximate weights for grades:
Paper 1, 20%
Presentations, 20%
Paper 2, 45%;
Attendance and Participation (including proposals and short written responses to papers), 15%