John Plotz responds to Dani Green
The evident confluence between Dani Green’s response and mine delighted me, principally by suggesting Mary Mullen’s capacity to strike similar chords all across the scholastic universe! Beyond that though, I saw it as activating the pairing of Anachronism and Naturalism–which might be then further compacted into a single comprehensive category: Naturalism’s temporal rescaling. Apt as Lukacs’s remarks on scale (spatial scale that is) were as a way to frame Zola’s Naturalism, perhaps this conjunction should remind us that there is another way to frame Naturalism (be it mode or genre or formal dynamic)—namely its expansion and contraction of the time-scale that in realism had played a much more constrained and manageable role. Here I think Hardy could and perhaps should loom large in a number of ways (even without extending a nimbus of “Celtic fringe:” to Wessex). Not simply a Naturalism by virtue of his interest in determinism, in hap and Hap and in the evolutionary laws that resonate through human lifetimes, but also for such outré experiments as The Dynasts, where chronicity itself gives way to a kind of interstellar whirlpool. Mullen’s commitment to institutions matters here, but especially for the ways in which her method allowed both Dani Green and myself to discern the swerve Naturalism is capable of producing, in even its iciest seeming incarnations.