"I really only need to adapt, for the experimental method has been established
. . . by Claude Bernard in [his essay, Introduction to the Study of
Experimental Medicine]" (1)
"Claude Bernard . . . explains the differences which exist between the
sciences of observation and the sciences of experiment. He concludes, finally,
that experiment is but provoked observation. All experimental reasoning
is based on doubt, for the experimentalist should have no preconceived
idea, in the face of nature, and should always retain his liberty of thought.
He simply accepts the phenomena which are produced, when they are produced"
"The essence of the higher organism is set in an internal and perfected
environment [inherited characteristics] endowed with constant physico-chemical
properties exactly like the external environment; hence there is an absolute
determinism in the existing conditions of natural phenomena . . . . He
calls determinism the cause which determines the appearance of these phenomena.
This nearest cause, as it is called, is nothing more than the physical
and material condition of the existence or manifestation of the phenomena.
The end of all experimental method . . . consists in finding the relations
which unite a phenomenon of any kind to its nearest cause, or, in other
words, in determining the conditions necessary for the manifestation of
"The novelist is equally an observer and an experimentalist. The observer
in him gives the facts as he has observed them . . . . then the experimentalist
appears and introduces an experiment, that is to say, sets his characters
going in a certain story so as to show that the succession of facts will
be such as the requirements of the determinism of the phenomena under examination
call for" (8). "In fact, the whole operation consists in taking facts in
nature, then in studying the mechanism of these facts, acting upon them,
by the modification of the circumstances and surroundings, without deviating
from the laws of nature. Finally, you possess knowledge of the man, scientific
knowledge of him, in his individual and social relations" (9).
"Some observed fact makes the idea start up of trying an experiment,
of writing a novel, in order to attain to a complete knowledge of the truth"
"I consider that the question of heredity has a great influence in the
intellectual and passionate manifestations of man. I also attach considerable
importance to the surroundings" (19). "Man is not alone; he lives in society,
in a social condition; and consequently, for us novelists, this social
condition unceasingly modifies the phenomena. Indeed our great study is
just there, in the reciprocal effect of society on the individual and the
individual on society" (20).
"This is what constitutes the experimental novel: to possess a knowledge
of the mechanism of the phenomena inherent in man, to show the machinery
of his intellectual and sensory manifestations, under the influences of
heredity and environment, such as physiology shall give them to us, and
then finally to exhibit man living in social conditions produced by himself,
which he modifies daily, and in the heart of which he himself experiences
a continual transformation" (20-21).
"We shall construct a practical sociology, and our work will be a help
to political and economical sciences. . . . To be the master of good and
evil, to regulate life, to regulate society, to solve in time all the problems
of socialism, above all, to give justice a solid foundation by solving
through experiment the questions of criminality--is not this being the
most useful and the most moral workers in the human workshop?" (26)
"Naturalism is . . . the intellectual movement of the century" (43). It "is not a school . . . [;] it consists simply in the application of the experimental method to the study of nature and of man" (44).