Naturalism was a relatively short-lived philosophical approach to crafting novels. Few writers of the period experienced real success in the style, but those that did became titans of the art form. One wonders at the profound literature that might have been produced had Stephen Crane not died before his thirtieth birthday. Frank Norris likewise died before his time, an irony that should not escape modern readers. It is difficult to gauge the total effects of Naturalism on the path of American literature. The fact that Social Darwinism eventually came to be seen for the disguised racism that it is probably marred the reputation of Naturalist writing. However, the sheer art and craft of the literature that the greatest novelists of the period generated overcomes such handicaps.