Benjamin Franklin Norris (March 5, 1870 - October 25, 1902) was an American novelist during the Progressive Era, the United States' first important naturalist writer. His notable works include McTeague (1899), The Octopus: A California Story (1901), and The Pit (1903). Although he did not support socialism as a political system, his work nevertheless evinces a socialist mentality and influenced socialist/progressive writers such as Upton Sinclair. Like many of his contemporaries, he was profoundly influenced by the event of Darwinism, and Thomas Henry Huxley's philiosophical defense of it. Through many of his novels, notably McTeague, runs a preoccupation with the notion of the civilised man overcoming the inner "brute", his animalistic tendencies. His peculiar, and often confused, brand of Social Darwinism also bears the influence of the early criminologist Cesare Lombroso..
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