Thursday, April 15, 2010

Presenting on Naturalism

I must admit, I am not the most confident presenter. That is to say, I practiced for hours, and still managed to ramble like a 10 year old describing his favorite video game after having a dozen pixie sticks. That said, I enjoyed the actual process of creating my presentation. I had originally looked at three or four more general topics to present on, but none of them had satisfied me, but then I did a google search for House of Mirth (and something else I can't remember), and found a great article. It changed my entire perspective on the book.

When I originally read House of Mirth, I was only mildly interested. Perhaps it was just the semester wearing thin for me, or lack of sleep for weeks straight, but I found myself often drifting. Pizer's article "The Naturalism of Edith Wharton's House of Mirth" ( changed that. I found myself re-evaluating numerous elements throughout the story, looking for the naturalistic themes. At the same time, I was trying to evaluate Wharton's stance on naturalism. Because of the way these themes are presented, I questioned if they were fatalistic, or a case of self-fulfilling prophecy brought on by faulty ideas. While I suspect the latter, it is difficult to say with any certainty. However, just having the concept of this book as a naturalistic work changes how we read it entirely, and such a change in perspective is always welcome.

1 comment:

  1. That is a fine article, and Pizer is the premier American critic of naturalism, so you chose well.