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Realism And Naturalism In Literature Pdf

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Realism was by no means a uniform or coherent movement; a tendency toward realism arose in many parts of Europe and in America, beginning in the s. To achieve this aim, realists resorted to a number of strategies: the use of descriptive and evocative detail; avoidance of what was fantastical, imaginary, and mythical; adhering to the requirements of probability, and excluding events which were impossible or improbable; inclusion of characters and incidents from all social strata, dealing not merely with rulers and nobility; focusing on the present and choosing topics from contemporary life rather than longing for some idealized past; emphasizing the social rather than the individual or seeing the individual as a social being ; refraining from the use of elevated language, in favor of more colloquial idioms and everyday speech, as well as directness and simplicity of expression.

This introductory article begins with a brief discussion of how American literary naturalism remains a vibrant and active field, which each generation reinterpreting the genre according to the critical theories and cultural concerns of its time. It then discusses naturalism's receptivity to adaptation and its similarity to another genre, melodrama. Exploring naturalism as a version of melodrama is a useful way of understanding its many anomalies and inconsistencies. It suggests a way of reading naturalism that does not see it primarily in terms of evolutionary and deterministic philosophy applied to realism but rather in terms of popular narrative strategies, derived from melodrama, enlisted in support of a propagandistic cause.

Studies in American Fiction

Realism was by no means a uniform or coherent movement; a tendency toward realism arose in many parts of Europe and in America, beginning in the s. To achieve this aim, realists resorted to a number of strategies: the use of descriptive and evocative detail; avoidance of what was fantastical, imaginary, and mythical; adhering to the requirements of probability, and excluding events which were impossible or improbable; inclusion of characters and incidents from all social strata, dealing not merely with rulers and nobility; focusing on the present and choosing topics from contemporary life rather than longing for some idealized past; emphasizing the social rather than the individual or seeing the individual as a social being ; refraining from the use of elevated language, in favor of more colloquial idioms and everyday speech, as well as directness and simplicity of expression.

All of these aims and strategies were underlain by an emphasis on direct observation, factuality, experience, and induction arriving at general truths only on the basis of repeated experience.

In adopting the strategies listed above, realism was a broad and multipronged reaction against the idealization, historical retrospection, and the imaginary worlds seen as characterizing Romanticism.

Naturalism was the ancient term for the physical sciences or the study of nature. Naturalism explicitly endeavors to emulate the methods of the physical sciences, drawing heavily on the principles of causality, determinism, explanation, and experimentation.

Some naturalists also drew on the Darwinian conception of nature and attempted to express the struggle for survival, as embodied in the connections between individuals and their environments, often portraying the physiologically and psychically determined dimensions of their characters as overwhelmed by accidental circumstances rather than acting rationally, freely, and heroically upon the world.

In Germany, a radical group called the Young Germans, whose prominent members included Heinrich Heine — and Karl Gutzkow — , voiced their opposition to the perceived reactionary Romanticism of Goethe and Schlegel. This group also rejected the ideal of aesthetic autonomy in favor of a realism that was politically interventional.

The atmosphere in Germany, however, was not favorable toward liberalism. Liberal movements had already been curbed by the Carlsbad Decrees of , subjecting the universities to state control and authors to censorship. In the Young Germans were banned, as was the later Marxist criticism of figures such as Franz Mehring — Hegelian idealism and historicism increasingly gave way before positivism, reflected in various brands of realism and naturalism.

Proponents of realism included Julian Schmidt — , the novelist Gottfried Keller — , the dramatist Friedrich Hebbel — , and Friedrich Theodor von Vischer — , who endeavored to express a theoretical basis for realism. The naturalist movement, arising in the s through the influence of Zola, was advanced by Arno Holz — , Heinrich — and Julius Hart — , Wilhelm Bolsche — , the social novelist Theodor Fontane — , and Wilhelm Scherer — , who attempted to base literature on scientific principles.

In general, this entire period was marked by a conflict between politically valent criticism and various forms of aestheticism, impressionism, and relativism, as well as by the collision of historicism with positivism.

In France, realism became a force in the s. A controversy was sparked by the painter Gustave Courbet, who exhibited his art under the rubric of realism after his paintings had been rejected by the Paris World Fair in Duranty believed that novels should reflect the lives of ordinary middle-class or working-class people.

Anticipating Zola, he urged the need for scrupulous documentation and freedom from moral constraints. Positivism in France took on a more overt aspect in the work of Taine. Influenced by the Enlightenment rationalist philosophers on theone hand, and by Hegel and Spinoza on the other, Taine sought a totalizing explanation of the causal operations governing both human beings and the world. In a somewhat paradoxical endeavor, he sought to situate positivism within a broader historical scheme.

This predominating characteristic, he held, was determined by three broad factors: race, milieu, and moment. The broader assumption behind this endeavor was that art expresses not only the psychology of its immediate creator but also the spirit of its age. In England, realism had in varying degrees informed the numerous types of novel — political, historical, religious — which had been written by major figures such as Thackeray and Dickens during the nineteenth century.

His impact on realistic thinking lay in his examination of human psychology as intimately related to social conditions. Two other notable realists of this period were George Gissing — and George Moore — , who, both influenced by Zola, introduced a strain of naturalism into English letters.

Gissing was an admirer of Balzac and wrote novels that offered minutely documented accounts of lower-middle-class life in London. The Irish novelist Moore also adopted and modified the realist strategies of Flaubert and Balzac.

Another figure associated with English realism was the artist and critic F. Indeed, as Lilian Furst has pointed out, the subsequent development of photography and the ideal of photographic accuracy had considerable significance for realism in both art and literature. The foremost theorist of realism in America was William Dean Howells, whose views will be considered below. Influenced by De Sanctis and Tolstoy, and drawing on the determinism of Taine and the evolutionary philosophy of Herbert Spencer, Howells was a powerful advocate of verisimilitude in fiction.

An important figure in realist theory was Henry James, whose emphasis on freedom in fiction will be examined shortly. Nearly all of these writers in the traditions mentioned, however, recognized that realism was problematic and even impossible to achieve.

Many of their own creative works contradicted and counter-exemplified their critical views, often deploying sophisticated techniques of symbolism and authorial perspective. They often gave voice to scathing critiques of oppressive social conditions and were often guilty inevitably of manipulating so-called facts.

Writers such as Flaubert were well aware that the raw material of life or experience needed to be worked on by art; and George Eliot was profoundly cognizant of the difficulty of expressing truth and reality.

In the light of the broad historical background outlined above, it needs to be stressed that realism — a way of thinking that continues to this day — has been not just a literary technique but a vast historical phenomenon with economic, ideological, philosophic, and religious ramifications. Realism is not a new phenomenon, and its history can be traced all the way back through writers such as Defoe, Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Aquinas to many of the classical thinkers such as Aristotle.

Some insight into the connections between modern realism, classical realism, and Romanticism might be enabled by looking at their philosophical underpinnings. The connection between occurrences is not regarded as primarily a chronological or causal development but as a oneness within the divine plan, of which all occurrences are parts and reflections. Such duality confers universal significance upon the smallest particular occurrence. The potential for an event to have isolated meaning in this world only emerged into realization with a rising bourgeois class whose economic interests were expressed in the philosophical domain by an increasing emphasis on the world here and now, on an emancipation of the particular event from its imprisoning exemplification of moral truths or its stunting participation in preemptive categories.

Yet, in virtue of their very assaults on universality, the bourgeois thinkers deprived themselves of the ability to relocate the particular within alternative schemes.

Moore, and Russell, whose assumptions might be traced back to Locke , and which were reaffirmed in the controversial collection of essays in The New Realism Both Marxist and non-Marxist writers — formalists, structuralists , and deconstructionists — have associated realism with deficiency of artistic form, and with a commonplace vision which accepts reality as something given.

According to these writers, the political connotations of merely expressing given reality are equally imposing: it is not the function of art simply to mirror and resign itself to the mundane bourgeois reality which surrounds it. This reality is not eternal, as it claims to be, but ephemeral; to express a more substantial reality, the artist must abstract from what lies immediately to hand. Structuralists such as Tzvetan Todorov have viewed realism as overtly and misleadingly transparent, and have rejected its referential basis: narrative and language, they have argued, refer not to any external reality; rather, they embody a self-contained and internally coherent system of concepts through which we see reality.

Reader-response theorists such as Wolfgang Iser regard reality as produced by the interaction of author, text, and reader, rather than somehow existing prior to these linguistic operations. Deconstructive critics such as J. Hillis Miller have also rejected the correspondence theory of meaning and truth underlying realism: even the name of a city such as London is not a pregiven reality but a set of signs for writers such as Dickens. This enables a different kind of realism, one which attempts not so much accurately to reflect the world as to express mental states in all their incoherent flux.

Proust, Joyce, Woolf, and Bergson were crucial components of this modernist reaction against the rigidity of some nineteenth-century realism. But there is a sense in which these writers, like T. Eliot, do not reject realism outright but refine it. As mentioned earlier, however, many of the nineteenth-century realists were well aware of the practical problems that confronted their theoretical claims.

What follows is an analysis of central statements of realism and naturalism made in England, France, and America. Willard R. Trask Princeton: Princeton University Press, , p. Like this: Like Loading Your feedback helps improve this platform. Leave your comment. Cancel reply.

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Naturalism in Literature: Characteristics and Examples

Well, according to naturalism in literature you are. Naturalism takes a deterministic view of the world and the forces surrounding humans. Learn more about naturalism in literature through examples. The vivid imagery and flowery wording of that book make it part of romanticism. However, some writers thought romantic books were just too flowery so another movement called realism came into play. Much like its name, realism is all about portraying real life.

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Literary realism

While Realism and Naturalism are two separate literary movements, they are closely linked and sometimes used interchangeably. This is because both movements portray life as it is. These movements depicted believable, natural or real everyday activities and experiences.

Introduction: The naturalistic imagination and the aesthetics of excess

19th Century Literary Movements : Realism and Naturalism

Realism and Naturalism are a reaction against Romanticism imagination, poetry and prose, as well as the main themes : nature, exoticism, history, and heroes depicted as exceptional individuals because it was thought to have lost touch with the contemporary. Three revolutions took place during the 19th century : the industrial revolution, the scientific revolution, and the moral revolution. In Great Britain, the Victorian Era lasted from to

Variously defined as distinct philosophical approaches, complementary aesthetic strategies, or broad literary movements, realism and naturalism emerged as the dominant categories applied to American fiction of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Included under the broad umbrella of realism are a diverse set of authors, including Henry James, W. Often categorized as regionalists or local colorists, many of these writers produced work that emphasized geographically distinct dialects and customs. Others offered satirical fiction or novels of manners that exposed the excesses, hypocrisies, or shortcomings of a culture undergoing radical social change. A subsequent generation of writers, including Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, and Jack London, are most often cited as the American inheritors of the naturalist approach practiced by Emile Zola, whose treatise Le Roman Experimental applied the experimental methods of medical science to the construction of the novel.


Realism is used by literary critics in two chief ways: (1) to identify a literary movement of the nineteenth century, especially in prose fiction (beginning with Balzac in.


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Access options available:. These critics begin with the Marxist assumption that the ideas of the dominant class become the ruling ideas of the entire society and extend their analysis of the contemporary role and position of women to an analysis of the culture in which values of market-place aggressiveness outrank values of any other kind. To quote Lillian Robinson: [Feminist criticism] is about to contract what can only be called a me'sallUince with bourgeois modes of thought and the critical categories they inform. To be effective, feminist criticism cannot become simply bourgeois criticism in drag. It must be ideological and moral criticism; it must be revolutionary. As the bourgeois art-form par excellence, the novel burgeoned in the eighteenth century into a vehicle for the investigation of the middle-class interpretation and application of medieval conceptions of romantic love, now firmly tied to marriage and the home.

Realism and Naturalism in Europe and America

Literary realism is a literary genre , part of the broader realism in arts , that attempts to represent subject-matter truthfully, avoiding speculative fiction and supernatural elements.

Likewise, I take moral realism to be an important part of commonsense morality. The educational goals of naturalism are; maintenance of self, securing the necessities of life, improving the students, maintaining the social and political relations, and enjoy free time Spencer, These are two different words with different concepts and meanings.

Стратмор также понимал, что первым делом нужно разрядить ситуацию. Выдержав паузу, он как бы нехотя вздохнул: - Хорошо, Грег.

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