This essay considers naturalist and neonaturalist deployments of smell as a means of mapping uneven and potentially toxic atmospheres in the contexts of Progressive Era urbanization and twentieth-century environmental “slow violence.” After showing how the description of noxious “smellscapes” structures Norris’s Vandover and the Brute (1914), I move on to consider the use of smell in key scenes in the writings of Ann Petry and Helena Viramontes. While environmental justice novels extend Norris’s interest in connections between smell, health, and stratified air, they also explore how these issues intersect with racially uneven geographies in the twentieth century.

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