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Realism & Naturalism 1850-1900.

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Presentation on theme: "Realism & Naturalism 1850-1900."— 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
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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