"Then physicists are romantic naturalists. Their equivalent in literature might be Ibsen." Dr. Shōji, seated diagonally opposite, proposed this analogy.
"True. The devices of Ibsen's dramas are much like Nonomiya's. But the characters who function within, unlike light beams, seem not to adhere to natural laws." This from the critic in the striped haori.
"I expect you're right. There's one thing to remember with regard to humans. -- Namely, that a human being, placed in certain circumstances, has the ability, and reserves the right, to defy expectation. This is a key point. -- Curiously, however, we forget this and assume that human beings, like light beams, are governed by mechanics. Doing so results, oftentimes, in bad ends. You contrive to antagonize another and he laughs. Or you scheme amusement and stir up anger, the exact opposite outcome." Professor Hirota expanded the scope of the discourse.
"Does that imply, then, that for a given individual, in a given situation, any behavior can pass as natural?" The novelist seated opposite inquired.
Professor Hirota responded immediately. "Yes, precisely. Depict any type of human in any way you like. Wouldn't you suppose then, that somewhere in the world, one such individual exists? We humans, in fact, cannot imagine deed or manner that fall outside the bounds of humanity. It's only poor prose, isn't it, that renders a character inhuman?"
The novelist had no response. Dr. Shōji spoke again next. "Even among physicists, when Galileo noticed that one swing of a cathedral pendant lamp, large or small, took a fixed amount of time, or when Newton attributed falling apples to gravitational force, didn't it begin as naturalism."
"If that's naturalism," Nonomiya replied, "then I can see how it figures in literature. Haraguchi-san, is it present in painting as well?"
"It is. Courbet is a dreadful example. Espousing 'vérité vraie,' he acknowledged only stark realism. His following was limited, but they're rightfully recognized as one distinct school. Isn't it the same with writers? There must, after all, be the same sort of types as Moreau and Chavannes."
"There are indeed," answered the novelist.