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Realism & Naturalism 1850-1900. The Rise of Realism ► The Civil War and postwar period ► Response to the war ► Romantics (Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville)

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Presentation on theme: "Realism & Naturalism 1850-1900. The Rise of Realism ► The Civil War and postwar period ► Response to the war ► Romantics (Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Realism & Naturalism

2 The Rise of Realism ► The Civil War and postwar period ► Response to the war ► Romantics (Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville) used romance to entertain and reveal truth. ► Realists, however, sought to portray ordinary life: ► Slums ► Rapidly growing cities ► Factories replacing farmland

3 Romanticism vs. Realism ► Romanticism:  Larger-than-life heroes  Romantic, exciting adventures  Entertaining writing ► Realism  Everyday people  Ordinary life and realistic situations  Sought to explain why ordinary people behave the way they do

4 Everyday Life ► Realists tried to represent faithfully the environment and manners of everyday life.  The way ordinary people felt and dressed  What ordinary people thought, felt, and talked about ► Sought to explain why ordinary people behave the way they do. ► Characters: poor factory workers, corrupt politicians, even prostitutes. ► Relied on behavior sciences: biology, psychology, and sociology.

5 Regionalism ► Realism had its roots in regionalism. ► Regionalism: literature that emphasizes a specific geographic setting. ► Makes use of the speech and manners of the people who live in that region. ► Famous regionalists:  Mark Twain  Harriet Beecher Stowe  Kate Chopin

6 Smiling Realism ► William Dean Howells, editor of the influential magazine The Atlantic Monthly. ► Ordinary situations and people ► Discussed the social questions perplexing America ► Portrayed an America where people acted foolishly, but their good qualities eventually won out.

7 Naturalism ► Focuses on sociology (study of society) and psychology. ► Attempts to dissect human behavior with objectivity, like a scientific dissection. ► Human behavior was determined by forces beyond the individual’s power, such as biology and environment. ► Life as a grim, losing battle. ► Characters had limited choices and motivations. ► Humans lived as animals, by instinct, unable to control destiny.

8 The Psychological Novel ► Henry James, a realist, but didn’t believe in the blunt, naturalistic view of animal instincts ► Concentrated on fine distinctions in character motivation ► Complex social and psychological situations ► Contrasts innocent, eager Americans with reserved, sophisticated Europeans

9 Ironic Writing ► Stephen Crane, a realist: interested in the human character at moments of stress. ► Contrasted human pretensions (behavior that is false, artificial, and given to display and grandeur) with the indifference of the universe. - END -


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