The book collects Pizer's late career essays on various writers and subjects related to American naturalism. Of these, two seek to describe the movement as a whole, six are on specific writers or works (with an emphasis on Theodore Dreiser), and two reprint informative interviews by Pizer on the subject. The essays reflect Pizer's mature engagement of the subject he has spent a lifetime exploring.
Pizer is one of the leading critics and historians of the significant late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literary movement known as American naturalism.
Preface; Acknowledgments; Part I. General Essays; 1. American Naturalism: A Primer; 2. Critical Conceptions of American Realism and Naturalism, 1870-1970; Part II. Specific Writers and Works; 3. Naturalism and the Visual Arts: Dreiser, Crane, and Steinbeck; 4. Jack London's "To Build a Fire": How Not to Read Naturalist Fiction; 5. Norman Mailer, Theodore Dreiser, and the Politics of American Literary History; 6. John Dos Passos and Harlan: Three Variations on a Theme; 7. Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy and 1920s; Flapper Culture; 8. Dreiser's Relationships with Women; Part III. Donald Pizer and the Study of American Naturalism; 9. The Study of American Naturalism: A Personal Retrospective; 10. Stephen C. Brennan: Interview with Donald Pizer; Index.