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By Harold Bloom

Determinism and self-reliance have been the various features American authors sought to painting within the novels of this literary interval, reflecting a extra life like view of the rustic with the increase of industrialism within the overdue nineteenth century. This name, American Naturalism, a part of Chelsea condominium Publishers' Bloom's interval reports sequence, includes a collection of severe essays interpreting the writers and works that outlined this era. as well as a chronology of vital cultural, literary, and politcal occasions, this article contains an creation and editor's notice written via Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the arts, Yale collage.

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For to proceed otherwise is to dissipate rather than alter our sense of reality, to weaken and compromise rather than change in any significant fashion our feeling of relatedness to the world. After all, what impressed us most in Kafka is precisely this power of his to achieve a simultaneity of contrary effects, to fit the known into the unknown, the actual into the mythic and vice versa, to combine within one framework a conscientiously empirical account of the visibly real with a dreamlike and magical dissolution of it.

It consists of a sensation of cosmic understanding, of an overarching sense of unity with the world in its apparent evil as well as in its obvious good. It is no more to be quarreled with, or reasoned with, than love itself—indeed, it is a kind of love, not so much of the world as of oneself in the world. Perhaps it is either the cessation of desire or the perfect balance of desires. It is what used often to be meant by “peace,” and up through the nineteenth century a Reality in America 37 good many people understood its meaning.

Yet granting the personal validity of the emotion, Dreiser’s exposition of it fails, and is, moreover, offensive. Mr. ’ ” But Dreiser’s religious avowal is not a failure of nerve—it is a failure of mind and heart. We have only to set his book beside any work in which mind and heart are made to serve religion to know this at once. Ivan Karamazov’s giving back his ticket of admission to the “harmony” of the universe suggests that The Bulwark is not morally adequate, for we dare not, as its hero does, blandly “accept” the suffering of others; and the Book of Job tells us that it does not include enough in its exploration of the problem of evil, and is not stern enough.

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