From "A Plea for Romantic Fiction," 1901, by Frank Norris:


The reason why one claims so much for Romance, and quarrels so pointedly with Realism, is that Realism stultifies itself.  It notes only the surface of things.  For it, Beauty is not even skin deep, but only a geometrical plane, without dimensions and depth, a mere outside.  Realism is very excellent so far as it goes, but it goes no further than the Realist himself can actually see, or actually hear.  Realism is minute; it is the drama of a broken teacup, the tragedy of a walk down the block, the excitement of an afternoon call, the adventure of an invitation to dinner.  It is the visit to my neighbor's house, a formal visit, from which I may draw no conclusions.  I see my neighbor and his friends--very, oh, such very! probably people--and that is all.  Realism bows upon the doormat and goes away and says to me, as we link arms on the sidewalk:  "That is life."  And I say it is not.  It is not, as you would very well see if you took Romance with you to call upon your neighbor. . . .


Let Realism do the entertainment with its meticulous presentation of teacups, rag carpets, wall-paper and haircloth sofas, stopping with these, going no deeper than it sees, choosing the ordinary, the untroubled, the commonplace.


But to Romance belongs the wide world for range, and the unplumbed depths of the human heart, and the mystery of sex, and the problems of life, and the black, unsearched penetralia of the soul of man.