Presentation on theme: "American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism 1860-1920(ish)"— Presentation transcript:
American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism (ish)
What is Realism? A faithful representation of reality in literature, also known as “verisimilitude.” Emphasis on development of believable characters. Written in natural vernacular, or dialect. Prominent from
The difference between Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism According to William Harmon and Hugh Holman, “Where romanticists transcend the immediate to find the ideal, and naturalists plumb the actual or superficial to find the scientific laws that control its actions, realists center their attention to a remarkable degree on the immediate, the here and now, the specific action, and the verifiable consequence.”
Realist Writers Mark Twain William Dean Howells Henry James Edgar Lee Masters
Despite hopefulness in American progress, many remained pessimistic or disillusioned. Jack London: wrote of the power of nature and the limitations of human intellect Willa Cather: portrayed the dilemma of sensitive and artistic people in a materialistic American society Upton Sinclair: exposed corruption of big business (i.e. railroads and meat packing) E.A. Robinson: wrote of disappointed and lonely people
Why did Realism develop? The Civil War The urbanization and industrialization of America As a reaction to Romanticism Increasing rates of democracy and literacy The emerging middle class Upheaval and social change in the latter half of the 19 th century
Features of American Realism Renders reality closely and in comprehensive detail. Character is more important than action and plot; complex ethical choices are often the subject. Characters appear in their real complexity of temperament and motive. Class is important; the novel has traditionally served the interests and aspirations of middle class.
Realistic Techniques Settings thoroughly familiar to the writer Plots emphasizing the norm of daily experience Ordinary characters, studied in depth Complete authorial objectivity Responsible morality
What is Regionalism? Often called “local color.” Focuses on characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features specific to a certain region (eg. the South) Coincided with Realism and sharing many of the same traits. Prominent from
Regionalist Writers Kate Chopin— South Mary E. Wilkins- Freeman—New England Mark Twain—West Willa Cather— Midwest
Why did Regionalism develop? Dual influence of Romanticism and Realism The Civil War and the building of a national identity An outgrowth of realism with more focus on a particular setting and its influence over characters
What is Naturalism? Applied scientific principles of objectivity and detachment to the study of human beings. Influenced by Darwinism (natural selection) and psychology (Freud) Posited that behavior was governed by heredity and environment. Often depict man in conflict with nature, society, or himself. Prominent from (ish)
Naturalist Writers Stephen Crane Ambrose Bierce Jack London Edwin Arlington Robinson Katherine Anne Porter Charlotte Perkins Gilman Edith Wharton
Why did Naturalism develop? The swell of immigrants in the latter half of the 19 th century, which led to a larger lower class and increased poverty in the cities The prominence of psychology and the theories of Sigmund Freud Pessimism in the wake of the Civil War and Reconstruction Publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species
Points to Remember… Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism are intertwined and connected. Their influence has dominated most literature created since 1920, though the movement itself is dated to roughly that point. They are truly American modes of writing.