In the latest edition of his Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (1998), J.A. Cuddon recognizes that the labels 'impressionist and impressionism have crept into literary criticism' but judges them 'vague terms which we might well dispense with'. 1 In fact, although exponents of literary impressionism never collectively classified themselves as constituting an aesthetic movement, there is a discernible theme and approach, complicit with several primary tenets of Impressionist painting, within a range of works composed between the years 1870 to 1920. 2 This shared foundation proves neither vague nor dispensable but defines an important period of intellectual and aesthetic transition in Europe and America. Indeed, as the herald of Modernism, Impressionism marks the profoundly resonant mid-point in the move from the primarily objective aesthetic of Naturalism, with its assumption of a scientifically observable reality, to the purely subjective realm of the inner Ego that is Expressionism. 3 This clash of objective and subjective impulses within literary impressionism signals an epistemological crisis: while objective reality as a concept is not discarded, its exact nature exceeds comprehension. It follows that individual observations and interpretations of reality suffer possible distortion, and to a degree perhaps unknowable.