The realists
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The Realists:. Keeping It Real Since 1865. American Literature Timeline. Before 1620: (Native Americans/Explorers) 1620 – 1700s: (Puritans) 1730 – 1745: (Great Awakening) 1745 – 1800: (Rationalists/Deists) Early 1800s (Early Romantics) 1840 – 1865:

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The realists

The Realists:

Keeping It Real Since 1865

American literature timeline
American Literature Timeline

  • Before 1620:

    (Native Americans/Explorers)

  • 1620 – 1700s:


  • 1730 – 1745:

    (Great Awakening)

  • 1745 – 1800:


  • Early 1800s

    (Early Romantics)

  • 1840 – 1865:

    (American Renaissance)

American realism origins
American Realism: Origins

  • American Realism has its origins in the years surrounding the Civil War and created out of a need for authentic accounts of Civil War experiences as well as the lives lived beyond the battlefield

  • Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson still relevant writers who were producing significant pieces until their deaths (1862, 1864, and 1882 respectively)

  • Emerson’s quote: “The war with its defeats is immensely better than what we lately called the integrity of the republic, as amputation is better than cancer.”

  • Whitman: “The real war will never get in the books.”

American realism origins1
American Realism: Origins

  • Page 379 (Red book): “There were many accounts of soldier’s experiences, but virtually all of them were the work of amateur writers; they had historical value, but no literary significance.”

  • “War confirmed a view of the world that saw all existence as a battle with an indifferent and often hostile environment” (379 red book). How does this view of the Civil War differ from that of the American Revolution?

Changes in media
Changes in Media

  • From previous unit: “________, and the stories needed to fill them, had become very popular with a growing audience of prosperous and educated readers” (181).

  • How did media change during the Civil War?

  • Newspapers provided, well, news, but they also became sources of propaganda.

  • What else emerged during this time that impacted the public’s view of war?

Journalistic photography

  • This guy helped bring the War to the mind of the non-combatant American during the Civil War.

  • The viewing public could no longer avoid the ugliness of war.

  • “Many Realist writers aspired to adapt this kind of photographic realism to their literary works” (490 blue book)

Tenets of realism
Tenets of Realism

  • W. D. Howells: “Realism is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material” (487 blue book)

  • Realism not only discussed how people lived their lives, but also sought explanations as to why they made the choices they did—specific connection to naturalism 

  • Regionalism: “literature that emphasizes a specific geographic setting and reproduces the speech and manners of people who live in the region” (381 red book).

  • Regionalism was true only to the speech and manners, not necessarily true depictions of the settings and the characters

  • Naturalism “relied heavily on the growing scientific disciplines of psychology and sociology” (383 red book). Naturalists “looked at life bluntly and crudely. Their characters often had limited choices and motivations” (384 red book) and took some inspiration from C. Darwin

Closing thought
Closing Thought…

“A man said to the universe:

‘Sir, I exist!’

‘However,’ replied the universe,

‘The fact has not created in me

A sense of obligation.’”

-Stephen Crane

Check yo self
Check Yo’self!

What was the time span for the Realist era (specific years)?

What writers that we have studied previously wrote during this time period?

Define realism.

Define regionalism.

Define naturalism.

What changes in media impacted the spread of war news and events? How did this affect literature and collective American thinking?

What other literary styles and perspectives impact Realist literature?