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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $14.50
  • November 1996
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-97013-5
  • 432 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide


Norton Critical Editions

Second Edition


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Frank Norris (Author), Donald Pizer (Editor, Tulane University)


The text of this edition presents, fully annotated, the 1899 First Edition text of McTeague, a significant example of American literary naturalism and a commentary on turn-of-the-century American cultural values.

Contexts focuses on the novel's sources and composition. Included are newspaper accounts of a San Francisco murder; a description of Norris' Polk Street neighborhood, which figures prominently in McTeague; an examination of the relationship between the novel and naturalism; and a discussion of the book's genesis, from its origin as a Harvard assignment to Norris's revision of it upon his return to San Francisco. Criticism has been revised to include major recent assessments of the novel. Two seminal pieces from the previous edition have been retained—Ernest Marchand's account of McTeague's 1899 reviews and Donald Pizer's essay on naturalism. Six essays and four stills from Erich von Stroheim's film version of McTeague are new. The new essays are by Don Graham, William E. Cain, Barbara Hochman, James L. Caron, Mary Lawlor, and Donna M. Campbell. A Chronology and an updated Selected Bibliography are included.



    A Note on the Text

    The Text of McTeague


    The San Francisco Background

    1. Frank Norris, An Opening for Novelists: Great Opportunities for Fiction Writers in San Francisco
    2. From the San Francisco Examiner, Twenty-Nine Fatal Wounds
    3. From the San Francisco Examiner, He Was Born for the Rope
    4. Robert D. Lundy, [The Polk Street Background of McTeague]

    Zolaesque Naturalism

    1. Lars Ahnebrink, Naturalism in France

    Norris’ Definition of Naturalism

    1. Introduction
    2. Frank Norris, Zola as a Romantic Writer
    3. Frank Norris, Frank Norris’ Weekly Letter
    4. Frank Norris, A Plea for Romantic Fiction

    Composition and Revision: Harvard and San Francisco

    1. Frank Norris, [Harvard Themes from McTeague]
    2. Donald Pizer, [The Genesis of McTeague]


    Early Criticism

    1. Ernest Marchand, [1899 Review of McTeague]

    Modern Criticism

    1. Donald Pizer, Late Nineteenth-Century American Naturalism
    2. Don Graham, Art and Humanity in McTeague
    3. William E. Cain, Presence and Power in McTeague
    4. Barbara Hochman, Loss, Habit, Obsession: The Governing Dynamic of McTeague
    5. James L. Caron, Grotesque Naturalism: The Significance of the Comic in McTeague
    6. Illustrations, Four photographs from Herman G. Weinberg, The Complete Greed of Erich von Stroheim
    7. Mary Lawlor, Naturalism in the Cinema: Erich von Stroheim’s Reading of McTeague
    8. Donna M. Campbell, Frank Norris’ “Drama in a Broken Teacup”: The Old Grannis-Miss Baker Plot in McTeague

    Frank Norris: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography