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American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism

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Title: American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism


1
American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism
2
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 1860-1890.

3
Definition of Realism
  • Actually, realism is a literary
    technique broadly defined as "the faithful
    representation of reality " or
    verisimilitude. " A reaction against
    romanticism, an interest in scientific method,
    the systematizing of the study of
    documentary history, and the influence of
    rational philosophy all affected the rise
    of realism.

4
Realist Writers
  • Mark Twain
  • William Dean Howells
  • Henry James
  • Edgar Lee Masters

5
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 19th century

6
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 1865-1895.

7
Regionalist Writers
  • Kate ChopinSouth
  • Mary E. Wilkins-FreemanNew England
  • Mark TwainWest
  • Willa CatherMidwest

8
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

9
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 men were governed by heredity and
    environment.
  • Often depict man in conflict with nature,
    society, or himself.
  • Prominent from 1880-1920(ish)

10
Comparison with
Naturalism
  • Naturalism
  • The term naturalism describes a type of
    literature that attempts to apply scientific
    principles of objectivity and detachment to
  • its study of human beings . For naturalistic
    writers, characters can be studied through their
    relationships to their surroundings,
    following the medical model and the
    historians observation ---that is, human
    beings as "products" should be studied
    impartially, without moralizing about their
    natures.

11
Naturalist Writers
  • Stephen Crane
  • Ambrose Bierce
  • Jack London
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson
  • Katherine Anne Porter
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Edith Wharton

12
Why did Naturalism develop?
  • The swell of immigrants in the latter half of the
    19th 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 Darwins Origin of the
    Species

13
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.
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