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Late Nineteenth Century: Realism and Naturalism. Dempsey and Firpo , George Bellows, 1924. Realism: A Cultural Survey 1865-1880. The first transcontinental railroad was bound to the West.

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late nineteenth century realism and naturalism

Late Nineteenth Century: Realism and Naturalism

Dempsey and Firpo, George Bellows, 1924

realism a cultural survey 1865 1880
Realism: A Cultural Survey1865-1880
  • The first transcontinental railroad was bound to the West.
  • A great curiosity of what the United States looked and sounded like became a fixture of American culture.
  • The literary map of America begins to be developed.
principles and characteristics of literary realism
Principles and Characteristics of Literary Realism

1. Artists and authors during the Local Color Movement (1865-1880) explored what their country looked like, and how the varied races which made up their growing population lived and talked (dialect, Mark Twain).

2. The subject matter of Realism is drawn from "our experience”– including setting. Characters are common men, speaking in the common vernacular. There is an emphasis on class.

3. Character is more important than plot. Ordinary characters are studied in depth.

4. Attack upon romanticism and romantic writers.

5. Renders reality closely and in detail.

6. Complete authorial objectivity; a world truly reported

naturalism pessimistic determinism 1890 1910
Naturalism: Pessimistic Determinism1890-1910

Sand Hole Bronx, George Luks, 1906

Continuation of Realism, exploring the raw and unpleasant characteristics of life.

Writers include: Jack London, Kate Chopin, and Booker T. Washington.

principles and characteristics of literary naturalism
Principles and Characteristics Of Literary Naturalism
  • Characters do not have free will (determinism).
  • A character can be explained in terms of the forces, usually heredity and environment, which operate on him/her.
  • Life on its lowest levels is not so simple as it seems to be.
  • The subject matter deals with those raw and unpleasant experiences which reduce characters to "degrading" behavior.
  • Characters have values which affirm their individuality; their struggle for life is heroic and they maintain human dignity.
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“The primary goal …was not to demonstrate the overwhelming and oppressive reality of the material forces present in our lives. Their attempt, rather, was to represent the intermingling in life of controlling forces and individual worth. The Naturalists do not dehumanize man.”

--Donald Pizer