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date: 16 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the relationship between naturalism and crime. Both utopian writers and literary naturalists at the turn of the twentieth century believed that crime was a “disease” that could be eradicated. The two groups differed, however, in the “nature versus nurture” debate. Whereas the utopians believed that criminals could be “cured,” the early naturalists believed that criminal diseases could only be bred out of the human stock over generations, much as an epidemic may be controlled and slowly ameliorated over time.

Keywords: literary naturalists, utopian writers, crime

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