This site is a virtual space dedicated to the investigation of Naturalism in literature and film, and to an assessment of the reasons for Naturalism's enduring existence as a moral, political, and aesthetic impulse.
Naturalism was perhaps the late-c19th's most significant contribution to the repertoire of plots and descriptive techniques available for figuring (and figuring out) human experience. Although it took various forms, in fiction, drama, and the visual arts, and subsequently in film, its primary aim was to explore and exploit (physical, moral, and social) 'lowness'.
Naturalism let loose in the world a narrative which, rather than bind events into significance, as most narratives do, unbound them from it. That narrative unbinding was consistently a narrative of unbinding: of social, moral, and physical disintegration.
Naturalism changed the rules of representation.
The enquiries pursued on this site do not seek to define a Naturalist 'tradition' in literature and film. Instead, they ask why an impulse to Naturalism should so persistently have reasserted itself, in a wide variety of modes and contexts, throughout the c20th, and into the c21st. What was it that Naturalism enabled writers and film-makers to say – about the world we live in and our manner of living in it – that they would not otherwise have been able to say?
The answers proposed to that question will necessarily be collaborative. They are as likely to take the form of an inventory as of a treatise or a dictionary definition.
Naturalism rocks! How, why, and when?
The site supports a module on Naturalism in Literature and Film in the University's MPhil in Screen Media and Cultures.