The Realist Imperative: Narrative Imagination and Zola’s Postmodern Ethics
This paper examines essential concepts of Emile Zola’s positivist formulations of late nineteenth-century Naturalism in the light of current approaches to postmodern multiculturalism, particularly those outlined in Mohanty’s Literary Theory and the Claims of History: Postmodernism, Objectivity, Multicultural Politics. Mohanty’s gesture toward a broader “democratic project . . . based on a realist moral epistemology and a naturalistic view of cultural practice as experimentation and inquiry" (248) provides a useful means of reviewing Zola’s own engagement with the democratic project and his early contributions to the expansion of human understanding of the ethical dilemmas of human sociability and historicality.
Keywords: Zola, Mohanty, Postmodernism, Ethics
Dr Michael Lastinger
Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Languages, West Virginia University