opment. This is the task which several of the most eminent professors of the craft have expressly set themselves—George Eliot, with her analysis of the influences determining mental and moral evolution; Zola, with his simplification of life as the resultant of two calculable forces, heredity and environment; Thomas Hardy, with his illustrations of the theory of Necessitarianism. But the solution of purely intellectual problems is scarcely proper work for art. In so far as this reaction of causes upon the human organism is regarded simply as an interesting spectacle, there is nothing to be said against it. But when it is boldly treated as a psychological or pathological thesis, or when deductions are drawn, as was attempted by Zola, from the novel-writer's demonstrations, then the novel is neither true art nor science. It aims at an object alien to the one; it is not the other, because the results of an imaginary process can have no real validity. The introduction of a non-literary purpose is bound to lead in the end to the pseudo-scientific fallacies of experimental fiction, in which the novel masquerades as an anthropological treatise, pretending to draw logical deductions from its arbitrary re-arrangement of facts. Art has no business with the natural history of the race, even though the novels of such a man as Defoe might justly be described as, in effect, chapters in our natural history, in that they are so minute and accurate, and represent an experience so vast, as to furnish trustworthy statistics for the historian of society.
It would be better, perhaps, to consider Naturalism simply as more complete and thorough-going Realism. Most of our Realists, from Fielding and Richardson to Jane Austen and Thackeray, were never content simply to mirror life; they gave us their own reading of it. Their novels are not a mere transcription of what they observed, but an interpretation, humorous or sentimental, ethical or philosophical. In a tale of Guy de Maupassant's one seems to be looking at life itself; in Vanity Fair or Pride and Prejudice, Tom Jones or Clarissa, we see it through a medium interposed by the mind and temperament of the writer. This distinction, of course, is not an absolute one. Neither Maupassant, nor any other man, was able to eliminate himself entirely from his delineation of the world. But he was constantly straining to do so; he never betrayed himself intentionally; and he succeeded perhaps as far as a mortal can. In Le Mouvement littéraire contemporain, M. Pellissier describes his method, the typical method of Naturalism, as follows:—
'In Guy de Maupassant there is no trace of romanticism. Naturalist and nothing more, he has, so to speak, done nothing but reflect nature. He paints himself under the name of one of his characters, the novelist Lamarthe, "armed with an eye that gathers in images, attitudes, and gestures with the precision of a photographic apparatus".' And again, 'What distinguishes him, particularly from Zola, is that his observation is free. He has,