Figures of the World: The Naturalist Novel and Transnational Form

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This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)—a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries—and the generous support of Michigan State University. Learn more at the TOME website, available at

This book begins by tracing the history of naturalist fiction from the 1860s into the twentieth century and the reasons it spread around the world. Hill explores the development of three naturalist figures—the degenerate body, the self-liberated woman, and the social milieu—through close readings of fiction from France, Japan, and the United States. Rather than genealogies of European influence or the domination of cultural “peripheries” by the center, novels by Émile Zola, Tayama Katai, Frank Norris, and other writers reveal conspicuous departures from metropolitan models as writers revised naturalist methods to address new social conditions. Hill offers a new approach to studying culture on a large scale for readers interested in literature, the arts, and the history of ideas.

Last modified
  • 06/08/2022
Alternate Identifier
  • Cloth ISBN 978-0-8101-4215-2
  • Paper ISBN 978-0-8101-4214-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-0-8101-4216-9
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