Naturalist Writer

02 Dec

So, Hardy is a “naturalist writer”.  Did you know this?
Did you guess based on chapter 1 of The Return of the Native?
Wow, he wrote a whole chapter just about the setting.

Here’s what SWB had to say about naturalist writers in our handbook The Well-Educated Mind:

Naturalist writers were convinced that they could write “purely scientific” novels.  The individual, the subject of all novelization since Don Quixote, was no longer free.  The “self” was only the product of inherited traits plus environmental influence.  Naturalist writers–most notably Thomas Hardy–gave their characters certain genetic characteristics, plopped them down into a sheer hell of environmental factors, and then described the resulting behavior.  The naturalist’s job (in his or her own eyes, at any rate) was jut like the scientist’s: Put the rat in the maze, watch what it does, and record the outcome without elaboration.
(WEM p. 64)


Posted by on December 2, 2012 in The Return of the Native


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4 responses to “Naturalist Writer

  1. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    December 2, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Wow. That’s heavy.

  2. Norma carey

    December 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    And I always thought the “heath” was just a place full of tumbleweeds – see them tumbling down!

  3. Christina Joy

    December 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Well, I’m glad that’s what it meant, because I was afraid you were going to tell us that Thomas wrote the whole thing in his birthday suit.

    Seriously though, this is really interesting in light of the fact that my endnotes keep telling me that Hardy adapted and changed Eustacia’s background over and over throughout the different editions of the novel. I suppose this was to perfect her background so the outcome could be exactly as he wanted it?

  4. April

    December 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I am reading The Secret Garden to my kids right now. What a perfect companion book!


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