As a divided stream, naturalism has oscillated in the last half century between the affirmation of human freedom and the demonstration of its non-existence between deep pessimism and high optimism, between idealism and existentialism. Mr. Wolcott believes these contradictions are the main intellectual and social problems of our time. By giving in his first chapter a rather original interpretation of the word naturalism, he proceeds to examine first Zola whom he considers the father of this school, and then traces his theory through the works of Garland, Crane, Norris, London, Dreiser, Anderson, Steinbeck, Hemingway and others. Despite a rather provocative point of view, the book hardly rises above a pedantic and professional handling. The ground has been so well broken before by such men as Parrington, Geismar and Brooks that there is little left for the author to say here which will attract an audience outside of university libraries.