Frank Norris

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Related to Frank Norris: Theodore Dreiser, Stephen Crane
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Norris, Frank


Born Mar. 5, 1870, in Chicago; died Oct. 25, 1902, in San Francisco. American author.

The son of a wealthy businessman, Norris studied art at a studio in Paris and attended the University of California and Harvard University. He contributed to newspapers. In his first novels, marked by the influence of E. Zola, Norris demonstrated how young people’s characters are warped by the conditions of American life (Vandover and the Brute, 1895; published, 1914) and condemned the corrupting passion for profit (McTeague, 1893–97; published, 1899). Norris’s masterpiece was the novel The Octopus (1901; Russian translation, 1902)—the first part of the unfinished trilogy The Epic of the Wheat. The second novel of the trilogy was The Pit (1903, Russian translation, 1903); the third novel, The Wolf, was never written. Taking an episode from the history of the armed struggle of American farmers against the railroad monopoly in California (the “octopus”), Norris reflected the essential characteristics of the cruel dictatorship of the monopolies and, simultaneously, the beginning of the anti-imperialist struggle of the American people. The symbolic character of Wheat reflected the philosophical, sociological, and moral convictions of the author and embodied Norris’s concept of the onward march of history. The novel The Pit, which exposes the big wheat speculators of Chicago, is a somewhat weaker work than The Octopus. Its theme is developed with greater realistic depth in the story A Deal in Wheat (1902; Russian translation, 1958). Norris was also the author of a collection of literary criticism published in 1903.


Complete Works, vols. 1–10. Port Washington, N. Y., 1967.


Samarin, R. M. “Problema naturalizma v literature SShA i razvitie amerikanskogo romana na rubezhe XIX-XX vv.” In the collection Problemy istorii literatury SShA. Moscow, 1964.
Hill, J. S. The Merrill Checklist of Frank Norris. Columbus, Ohio, 1970.
Lohf, K. A., and E. P. Sheehy. Frank Norris: A Bibliography. New York, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"The Puppets and the Puppy." Frank Norris of "The Wave." San Francisco: Westgate, 1931.
The "real" Frank Norris was critical of Crane's disheveled appearance, writing in a letter that Crane's "hair hung in ragged fringes over his eyes." (Wertheim, 2) Furthermore, Philip Knightly reports that Crane once double-crossed his friend Davis by not awakening him as prearranged and got for himself the exclusive story of the surrender of Juana Diaz in Puerto Rico.
(16.) Bert Bender, "Frank Norris on the Evolution and Repression of the Sexual Instinct." Nineteenth-Century Literature 54 (1999): 73-103; Rebecca Nisetich, "The Nature of the Beast: Scientific Theories of Race and Sexuality in McTeague," Studies in American Naturalism 4 (2009): 1-21.
"Loves Labor's Regained: The Making of Companionate Marriages in Frank Norris's The Pit." Papers on Language and Literature 40, 1 (2004): 28-56.
As for lycanthropy, Frank Norris (the American Naturalist writer, except for Dreiser, with the most Mailer "seeds") wrote Vandover and the Brute, a kind of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr.
"My good friend Frank Norris called and told me about all the big bucks he was seeing while riding around in the mornings and evenings on his hunting club property near Chester, Virginia, in Chesterfield County.
More overt, Frank Norris routinely relied upon a simplistic racial ideology and popular stereotypes--hotblooded Latinos, treacherous Chinese, and egregious versions of Shylock as a modern, racially degenerate, predatory figure of avarice, embodying "in a single figure centuries of antisemitic representation" (25).
(7) In addition to such indirect forms of stereotyping, William Dean Howells and Frank Norris also represented in their fiction a second kind of economic exchange between the United States and Asia, the trade in art objects.
Frank Norris and the South's Fate." The author uses Norris as a focal point for understanding how his physically and rhetorically violent tendencies were real but also distorted by the press, resulting in a caricature.
Fleissner's interest in a psychological modernity animates her discussion of compulsive behaviors, particularly those compulsions involving domestic women, from the "heroine" of "The Yellow Wallpaper" to that alarming domestic, Trina McTeague, to a few domestic men, among them Frank Norris's Vandover.
Witschi does a fine job threading together several writers (Bret Harte, John Muir, Howells, Frank Norris, Mary Austin, and Raymond Chandler) not ordinarily aligned through genre, and his book could amplify background upper-division courses in American realism or Western fiction.
"California likes to be fooled," says a character in The Octopus (1901), Frank Norris' great novel about wheat growers and the railroads in the San Joaquin Valley; and that penchant for self-deception, Didion insists, runs throughout the history of the state.