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Chapter 7 The Era of Realism and Naturalism

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Title: Chapter 7 The Era of Realism and Naturalism


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 dont.

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 (1871-1990)
  • 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 (1860-1940)
  • 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 individuals freedom

9
Ambrose Bierce (1824-1914)
  • 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 (1843-1916)
  • 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 ones 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 (1843-1916)
  • 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 cant really live
  • The Beast in the Jungle (1903)

14
Henry James (1843-1916)
  • 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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