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Chapter 7 The Era of Realism and Naturalism

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1 Chapter 7 The Era of Realism and Naturalism
from An Outline of American Literature by Peter B. High

2 Moving toward Realism in Literature by 1875
influence of French Realism (p.83) changed the relationship between literature and society novel had the power to become a political weapon In literature, realism gives us a picture of life as it really is. Story of realism deal with everyday problems that most people encounter. Sometimes the characters overcome their problems; other times, they don’t.

3 William Dean Howell (1837-1920)
created the first theory for American realism (p.85) “Realism” became a weapon against literary romanticism “Realism” became the mainstream of American literature The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885)

4 William Dean Howell (1837-1920)
“The novelists might be the greatest possible help to us if they painted life as it is, and human feelings in their true proportion and relation.” Novels “should make you think and shame you into wishing to be a more helpful creature than you are.” Novels should depict business and businessmen Good realists should be interested in “the common feelings or commonplace people.

5 William Dean Howell (1837-1920)
A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890) became a kind of socialist, attacking the evils of American capitalism, its selfish competition art and the artist must serve the poor people of society

6 Naturalism a term created by the French novelist, Emile Zola (p.87)
used discoveries and knowledge of modern science to study human life people were not really free; rather, their lives, opinions and morality were all controlled by social, economic and psychological causes

7 Stephen Crane ( ) wrote Maggie: A Girl of the Street (1893) at the age of 22 characters are controlled by their environment (p.88) The Red Badge of Courage (1895), his greatest novel what you become is merely a matter of chance, or fate “The Open Boat” (1898)

8 Hamlin Garland ( ) had deep sympathy for the common people (p.90) his literature was a form of social protest Main-Traveled Roads (1891) life is “determined” by outside conditions and wrote to help improve those conditions described people, places and events in a careful and factual manner impressionistic way of describing, mixes emotions, colors, and sights a message behind these description – the failure of the “American Dream” the forces of American capitalism had destroyed the individual’s freedom

9 Ambrose Bierce ( ) loved to describe the terrifying events and strange forms of death skillful control of detail gives us a clear impression of the ironic fate waiting for a character “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

10 Henry James ( ) an observer of the mind, psychological realism (p.91) stream of consciousness – the workings of the mind things happen to the character but not as a result of their own actions watch life more than live it What do they see? How do they try to understand it? The changing consciousness of the character is the real story interested in how characters respond to the events of the story events inside one’s head can be dramatic

11 Henry James (1843-1916) Early Works
deal with his thoughts and feelings as an American living in Europe spent most of his time in England Roderick Hudson (1876), The American (1877), “Daisy Miller” (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881) contrasts American “innocence” with European “experience” drama is created by the mind

12 Henry James (1843-1916) Mature Period
characters talked about the different aspects and possibilities of the situations they are in drama comes from changing the way of looking at the world to another The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Ambassadors (1903)

13 Henry James ( ) theme 1: a study of single situation or problem studies one problem, “the nature of art,” from various points of view “The Real Thing” (1893), the problem is how art changes reality “The Death of the Lion” (1894) theme 2: unlived life the hero so afraid of life that can’t really live “The Beast in the Jungle” (1903)

14 Henry James ( ) theme 3: introducing children to the evil and immorality “What Maisie Knew” (1897), “The Turn of the Screw” (1898) theme4: being an American was a great problem “It is a complex fate, being an American.” Americans are always being “tested” by European civilization and vice versa. the new possibilities of American civilization

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