From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Naturalism \Nat"u*ral*ism\, n. [Cf. F. naturalisme.]
   1. A state of nature; conformity to nature.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. (Metaph.) The doctrine of those who deny a supernatural
      agency in the miracles and revelations recorded in the
      Bible, and in spiritual influences; also, any system of
      philosophy which refers the phenomena of nature to a blind
      force or forces acting necessarily or according to fixed
      laws, excluding origination or direction by one
      intelligent will.
      [1913 Webster]

   3. The theory that art or literature should conform to
      nature; realism; also, the quality, rendering, or
      expression of art or literature executed according to this
      [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

   4. Specifically: The principles and characteristics professed
      or represented by a 19th-century school of realistic
      writers, notably by Zola and Maupassant, who aimed to give
      a literal transcription of reality, and laid special
      stress on the analytic study of character, and on the
      scientific and experimental nature of their observation of
      [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
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