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13 Essential Literary Terms

naturalism

[nach-er-uh-liz-uh m, nach-ruh-] /ˈnætʃ ər əˌlɪz əm, ˈnætʃ rə-/
noun
1.
Literature.
  1. a manner or technique of treating subject matter that presents, through volume of detail, a deterministic view of human life and actions.
  2. a deterministic theory of writing in which it is held that a writer should adopt an objective view toward the material written about, be free of preconceived ideas as to form and content, and represent with clinical accuracy and frankness the details of life.
    Compare realism (def 4b).
  3. a representation of natural appearances or natural patterns of speech, manner, etc., in a work of fiction.
  4. the depiction of the physical environment, especially landscape or the rural environment.
2.
(in a work of art) treatment of forms, colors, space, etc., as they appear or might appear in nature.
Compare idealism (def 4), realism (def 3a).
3.
action arising from or based on natural instincts and desires alone.
4.
Philosophy.
  1. the view of the world that takes account only of natural elements and forces, excluding the supernatural or spiritual.
  2. the belief that all phenomena are covered by laws of science and that all teleological explanations are therefore without value.
5.
Theology.
  1. the doctrine that all religious truth is derived from a study of natural processes and not from revelation.
  2. the doctrine that natural religion is sufficient for salvation.
6.
adherence or attachment to what is natural.
Origin
1635-1645
1635-45; natural + -ism
Related forms
antinaturalism, noun
nonnaturalism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for naturalism
  • Quine, starts from a theory known as scientific naturalism.
  • He was not only meticulously accurate but also brought a sense of naturalism to space art that no one had done before.
  • Still, gritty naturalism is no small leap for the spandex genre.
  • His acting went beyond the boundaries of naturalism into another kind of expression.
  • In such company, naturalism is out and innovation is in.
  • naturalism fired the imaginations of composers as well.
  • The voice darts through the effects catalog as well, but mostly reflects the quirky naturalism of the poetry.
  • Undercutting the naturalism is a tone of saccharine folksiness.
  • How clear they are, how expressive they are vocally and physically-the parameters are much wider for them than our naturalism.
  • The era favored religious iconography and naturalism.
British Dictionary definitions for naturalism

naturalism

/ˈnætʃrəˌlɪzəm; -tʃərə-/
noun
1.
  1. a movement, esp in art and literature, advocating detailed realistic and factual description, esp that in 19th-century France in the writings of Zola, Flaubert, etc
  2. the characteristics or effects of this movement
2.
a school of painting or sculpture characterized by the faithful imitation of appearances for their own sake
3.
the belief that all religious truth is based not on revelation but rather on the study of natural causes and processes
4.
(philosophy)
  1. a scientific account of the world in terms of causes and natural forces that rejects all spiritual, supernatural, or teleological explanations
  2. the meta-ethical thesis that moral properties are reducible to natural ones, or that ethical judgments are derivable from nonethical ones Compare naturalistic fallacy, descriptivism
5.
action or thought caused by natural desires and instincts
6.
devotion to that which is natural
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for naturalism
n.

1630s, "action based on natural instincts," from natural + -ism. In philosophy, as a view of the world and humanity's relationship to it, from 1750. As a tendency in art and literature, from 1850.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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naturalism in Culture

naturalism definition


A movement in literature and the arts, and an approach to philosophy. Literary and artistic naturalism aims at accuracy and objectivity and cultivates realistic and even sordid portrayals of people and their environment. Philosophical naturalism, which is often identified with materialism, holds that minds, spirits, and ideas are fundamentally material.

naturalism definition


In the visual arts, an attempt to depict the natural world as accurately and objectively as possible.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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