Realism in American Literature

 

realism in english literature

Realism. NEXT ; In a Nutshell. When you think about the classics of world literature, some of the first things you think of are probably humungous novels like War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Great Expectations, Madame Bovary, or Middlemarch.. So do those meganovels have anything in common besides the fact that they are mega and novels? Realism in English Literature. In the school of literature, realism is described as the theory through which fidelity to the natural world or towards life is represented accurately without the practice of idealizing occurrences of life. The works of Daniel Defoe and Henry fielding are some of the earliest cases of realism in English writing. Realism as a movement in literature was a post phenomenon, according to its first theorist Jules-Français Champfleury. It aims to reproduce "objective reality", and focused on showing everyday, quotidian activities and life, primarily among the middle or lower class society, without romantic idealization or dramatization.


Literary realism - Wikipedia


Broadly defined as "the faithful representation of reality" or "verisimilitude," realism is a literary technique practiced by many schools of writing. Although strictly speaking, realism is a technique, it also denotes a particular kind of subject matter, especially the representation of middle-class life.

A reaction against romanticism, an interest in scientific method, the systematizing of the study of documentary history, realism in english literature, and the influence of rational philosophy all affected the rise of realism. 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" A Handbook to Realism in english literature Many critics have suggested that there is no clear distinction between realism and its related late nineteenth-century movement, naturalism.

As Donald Pizer notes in his introduction to The Cambridge Companion to American Realism and Naturalism: Howells to Londonthe term "realism" is difficult to define, in part because it is used differently in European contexts than in American literature.

Pizer suggests that "whatever was being produced in fiction during the s and s that was new, interesting, and roughly similar in a number of ways can be designated as realismand that an equally new, interesting, and roughly similar body of writing produced at the turn of the century can be designated as naturalism " 5. Put rather too simplistically, one rough distinction made by critics is that realism espousing a deterministic philosophy and focusing on the lower classes is considered naturalism.

In American literature, the term "realism" encompasses the period of time from the Civil War to the turn of the century during which William Dean Howells, Rebecca Harding Davis, Henry James, Mark Twain, realism in english literature, and others wrote fiction devoted to accurate representation and an exploration of American lives in various contexts.

As the United States grew rapidly after the Civil War, the increasing rates of democracy and literacy, the rapid growth in industrialism and urbanization, an expanding population base due to immigration, and a relative rise in middle-class affluence provided a fertile literary environment for readers interested in understanding these rapid shifts in culture. In drawing attention to this connection, Amy Kaplan has called realism a "strategy for imagining and managing the threats of social change" Social Construction of American Realism ix.

Realism was a movement that encompassed the entire country, or at least the Midwest and South, although many of the writers and critics associated with realism notably W. Howells were based in New England. Among the Midwestern writers considered realists would be Joseph Kirkland, E. Their ethical beliefs called, first of all, for a rejection of scheme of moral behavior imposed, from without, realism in english literature, upon the characters of fiction and their actions.

Yet Howells always claimed for his works a deep moral purpose. What was it? It was based upon three propositions: that life, social life as lived in the world Howells knew, was valuable, realism in english literature, and realism in english literature permeated with morality; that its continued health depended upon the use of human reason to overcome the anarchic selfishness of human passions; that an objective portrayal of human life, by art, will illustrate the superior value of social, civilized man, of human reason over animal passion and primitive ignorance" It would apprehend in all particulars the connection between the familiar and the extraordinary, and the seen and unseen realism in english literature human nature.

Beneath the deceptive cloak of outwardly uneventful days, it detects and endeavors to trace the outlines of the spirits that are hidden there; tho measure the changes in their growth, realism in english literature, to watch the symptoms of moral decay or regeneration, to fathom their histories of passionate or intellectual problems.

In short, realism reveals. Where we thought nothing worth of notice, it shows everything to be rife with significance. The art of depicting nature as it is seen by toads.

The charm suffusing a landscape painted by a mole, or a story written by a measuring-worm. In its own time, realism was the subject of controversy; debates over the suitability of realism as a mode of representation led to a critical exchange known as the realism war, realism in english literature. Click here for a brief overview. The realism of James and Twain was critically acclaimed in the twentieth century. Howellsian realism fell into disfavor, however, as part of early twentieth century rebellion against the "genteel tradition.

Budd, among others, in the Cambridge Guide to Realism and Naturalism. Definitions Broadly defined as "the faithful representation of reality" or "verisimilitude," realism is a literary technique practiced by many schools of writing. Selective presentation of reality with an emphasis on verisimilitude, even at the expense of a well-made plot 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; they are in explicable relation to nature, to each other, to their social class, to their own past. Class is important; the novel has traditionally served the interests and aspirations of an insurgent middle class. Realistic novels realism in english literature the sensational, dramatic realism in english literature of naturalistic novels and romances.

Diction is natural vernacular, not heightened or poetic; tone may be comic, satiric, or matter-of-fact. Objectivity in presentation becomes increasingly important: overt authorial comments or intrusions diminish as the century progresses.

Interior or psychological realism a variant form. In Black and White StrangersKenneth Warren suggests that a basic difference between realism and sentimentalism is that in realism, "the redemption of the individual lay within the social world," but in sentimental fiction, "the redemption of the social world lay with the individual" The realism of James and Twain was critically acclaimed in twentieth century; Howellsian realism fell into disfavor as part of early twentieth century rebellion against the "genteel tradition.

Joseph Kirkland E, realism in english literature. Howe Hamlin Garland Henry James. Context and Controversy In its own time, realism was the subject of controversy; debates over the suitability of realism as a mode of representation led to a critical exchange known as the realism war.

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Realism - Examples and Definition of Realism

 

realism in english literature

 

In Belgian literature: Realism and other post-Romantic trends. Led by a Realist, Domien Sleeckx, a reaction against Romanticism set in about Writing became characterized by acute observation, description of local scenery, humour, and, not infrequently, a pervasive pessimism, as could be seen in novels such as Anton. Dec 05,  · Realism definition, interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc. See more. Realism. NEXT ; In a Nutshell. When you think about the classics of world literature, some of the first things you think of are probably humungous novels like War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Great Expectations, Madame Bovary, or Middlemarch.. So do those meganovels have anything in common besides the fact that they are mega and novels?