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The Literature of the Late Nineteenth Century

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1 The Literature of the Late Nineteenth Century
The Age of Realism The Literature of the Late Nineteenth Century

2 The Age of Realism: Marked by the End of the Civil War: 1861-1865
Cost of the Civil War The Human Cost 1,094,543 Casualties The North lost one out of ten 110,100 in battle 224,580 to disease The South lost one out of four 94,000 in battle 64,000 to disease Two percent of US population died in the Civil War, with only WWII claiming more lives; Economic Cost Estimated at 6.6 billion, which would be 165 billion today





7 By the end of the Civil War
The Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment had abolished slavery The industrial North had defeated the agrarian South Social order grew based on mass labor and mass consumption; Steam power replaced water power Machines replaced hand labor The Industrial Revolution had begun

8 The Effects of The Industrial Revolution
Migration from rural to urban areas Independent, skilled workers replaced by semi-skilled laborers; Large corporations were established, devaluing the personal relationship between management and workers or company and customers.

9 Political Upheaval Political power shifted to the laboring classes;
Political patronage and graft caused civic corruption; The power of the federal government expanded during the Civil War; National conscription laws; Federal income taxes levied; Paper money backed by federal government rather than individual states issued.

10 Mass Communication and Migration
Coast-to-coast communication Pony Express (1860)—10 days Telegraph (1861)—just seconds to communicate across country Transatlantic telegraph cable (1866) allowed instant communicate with Europe Telephone patented (1867) By 1900, 1.3 million telephones in U.S. Coast-to-coast travel Transcontinental Railroad (1869) By 1889, coast-to-coast travel—4 days

11 Samuel Morse: Inventor of the Telegraph Transcontinental Railroad
Alexander Graham Bell Samuel Morse: Inventor of the Telegraph Transcontinental Railroad

12 Effects of Transcontinental Mobility
Increased commercial development Farm and ranching products available nation wide National retail organizations undersold local shop keepers Richard Sears and Montgomery Wards Ready-made goods and clothes less expensive than local, hand-produced wares Time zones reduced from 56 to 4 in 1883

13 Other Social Changes Migration westward expanded the U.S. from the Atlantic to the Pacific Native American populations displaced and subjugated; Growth of Industry Steelmaking, the nation’s dominant industry Alternating electrical current (1886) American petroleum industry begins Growth of population Total population doubled from 1870 to 1890 National income quadrupled Gap between rich and poor widened

14 Civil Rights Changed Reconstruction in the South ends by 1877
Poll taxes and literacy tests disqualified black voters Separate and unequal schools created White supremacy re-established Women’s rights increase More women entered the workforce All female colleges were formed: Vassar, Wellesley and Smith Women gained the right to vote in 1922 Foreign immigration increases By 1910, one-third of largest cities foreign-born Need for public education increases The Morrill Acct of 1862—land given to states for establishment of “land-grant” universities

15 Intellectual Revolution: Changes in Thinking brought about by Changes in Society
Changes in science Changes in psychology Changes in philosophy

16 Science: Charles Darwin
Published The Origin of Species, Hypothesized that man is the product of evolution, Man is special not because God created him in His image, but because man had successfully adapted to changing environmental conditions and had passed on his survival-making characteristics to his progeny.

17 Psychology: Sigmund Freud
Believed that the mind could be understood in terms of repressed urges, usually sexual; Theorized an unconscious system of ideas that governs human reactions and response; Id, Ego, and Super-ego

18 Philosophy: Karl Marx Explained human history as the result of class struggles; Human identity is defined by social context; It is human nature to transform nature.

19 Philosophy: American Pragmatism
Truth is tested by its usefulness or practical consequences; Truth is a commodity accessible on the surface of things; It’s perceptible to the senses and verifiable through experience; Permanent truths exist apart from the material world—the mind of God, Plato’s ideal forms William James

20 From these social changes come two literary movements
Realism, first begun as the local color movement Naturalism

21 Realism Begins in France, as realisme, a literary doctrine calling for “reality and truth in the depiction of ordinary life.” Grounded in the belief that there is an objective reality which can be portrayed with truth and accuracy as the goal; The writer does not select facts in accord with preconceived ideals, but rather sets down observations impartially and objectively.

22 A Reaction against Romanticism
These authors sought to portray life as they saw it, insisting that the ordinary and local were just as suitable for art as the sublime. “Nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material. “ William Dean Howells

23 Realism began in America as Local Color
A synthesis of romantic plots and realistic descriptions of things; Definition of Local Color: Literature that focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features particular to a specific region that exploits the speech, dress, mannerisms, and habits of that specific region .

24 Characteristics of Local Color
Setting—often remote and usually integral to the story; Characters—more concerned with the character of the region than an individual—quaint, stereotypical; Narrator-- an educated observer from the world beyond who’s often deceived Emphasis on dialect Use of stock characters Plot—nothing much happens, revolves around the community and its rituals

25 Themes in Local Color Dislike of change, nostalgia for an always-past Golden Age; Triumphant trickster or trickster tricked; Tall tale-tradition, conflicts described humorously, larger than life

26 Characteristics of Realism
Subject matter—ordinary people and events; Purpose—Verisimilitude, the truthful representation of life; Point of View—omniscient and objective Characters—middle class, psychological realism Plot de-emphasized Focus on everyday life Complex ethical choices often the subject Events are made to seem the inevitable result of characters’ choices

27 Themes in Realism Humans control their destinies
characters act on their environment rather than simply reacting to it. Slice-of-life technique often ends without traditional formal closure, leaving much untold to suggest man’s limited ability to make sense of his life.

28 Naturalism: A Harsher Realism
Definition: A literature that depicts social problems and views humans as victims of larger biological, psychological and social and economic forces. Scientific determinism Psychological determinism Historical determinism

29 Scientific, Biological or Darwinian Determinism
Man has no direct control over who or what he is. His fate is determined by outside forces that can be discovered through scientific inquiry; Humans respond to environmental forces and internal stresses and drives, none of which can be fully controlled or understood People are driven by fundamental urges like fear, hunger, sex The world is a “competitive jungle,”

30 Psychological Determinism
Man is a victim of his inner and subconscious self (Freud).

31 Historical Determinism
Historical or socio-economic determinism (Marx): the world is a battleground of economic and social forces;

32 Objectives of Naturalism
Presentation is objective and detached Subject matter—raw and unpleasant experiences which reduce people to degrading circumstances in order to survive; Setting commonplace and un-heroic Novelist discovers qualities in lower class characters usually associated with heroes Suggestion that life on lowest levels is more complicated

33 Themes in Naturalism Man is fundamentally an animal, without free will; Governed by determinism External and internal forces, environment or heredity control behavior; Characters have compensating humanistic values which affirm life; Struggle for life becomes heroic and affirms human dignity Pessimistic view of human capabilities—life is a trap

34 The Ultimate Problem in Realism
Whose reality is portrayed? Those in power, usually male, white and privileged Whose reality is marginalized and ignored? Those without power: women, people of color, people of lower economic means

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