Silent Film and U.S. Naturalist Literature: Time, Narrative, by Katherine Fusco

By Katherine Fusco

Typically, experiences of early cinema’s relation to literature have excited about the interactions among movie and modernism. while movie first emerged, besides the fact that, it was once naturalism, now not modernism, competing for the yank public’s consciousness. during this media atmosphere, the cinema seemed along the works of authors together with Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jack London, and Frank Norris. Drawing on contemporaneous theories of time and modernity in addition to fresh scholarship on movie, narrative, and naturalism, this book moves past conventional model experiences techniques to argue that either naturalism and the early cinema intervened within the era’s various experiments with temporality and time administration. in particular, it exhibits that American naturalist novels are developed round a sustained formal and thematic interrogation of the connection among human freedom and temporal inexorability and that the early cinema built its norms within the context of naturalist experiments with time. The ebook identifies the silent cinema and naturalist novel’s shared privileging of narrative development over personality improvement as a symbolic way to social and aesthetic matters starting from platforms of illustration, to historiography, exertions reform, miscegenation, and contraception. This quantity therefore establishes the dynamic trade among silent movie and naturalism, arguing that during the goods of this trade, character figures as extra bogging down in a different way effective narratives of growth. contemplating naturalist authors and a various diversity of early movie genres, this is often the 1st book-length examine of the reciprocal media exchanges that happened while the cinema used to be new. it will likely be a worthy source to these with pursuits in version reports, American Literature, movie historical past, Literary Naturalism, Modernism, and Narrative Theory.

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Van finds no salvation in art. In order to do his checkerboard copying, he must literally work too close to the canvas to see the overall design and meaning of his pictures. His deterioration as an artist thus contributes to Norris’s overall demonstration of how the fragmented experiences of modern art and popular entertainments produce a correspondingly fragmented modern subject. While perhaps Vandover’s pictures are accurate at the level of the square, they lack larger artistic vision. In his account of Vandover’s deterioration, Norris suggests that modernity may erode the perceptual capabilities necessary for reading novels as well as writing them, making a critique of environmental conditioning quite similar to Bergson’s.

This mechanized simulation of becoming in turn contaminates human views of time. Rather than an internal duration that proves ongoing consciousness, externalized duration replaces natural and interpenetrating duration with a string of successive instants, spatially ordered, yet unconnected at a fundamental level. 9 Norris’s novel suggests that the young author felt similarly; however, his solution to the problem of mechanic temporal perspectives looks quite different. Bergson bemoans the impersonal and externalized motion that constitutes the movement of the moving pictures, and instead calls for a retreat into individual consciousness.

With the exception of the most recent events he could remember nothing connectedly” (Norris, Vandover 3). Vandover’s memory problems and the gambling that leads to him selling personal items and replacing them with signs with indexical instructions such as “stove here” (207) have been central to critical accounts that have revitalized naturalist scholarship by linking the genre to modernity and modernism. To take Michaels’s The Gold Standard as an example, these readings often interpret Vandover’s failed paintings and later substitution of his gambled-away possessions with Magritte-like indexical signs as Norris’s enactment of the modernist aesthetic expressed by the “painting that can represent nothing and still remain a painting” (165).

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