- Slides: 13
Realism and Naturalism Realism in General: Realism was split between those who wanted to create new and more urban works that reflected city life, while others wanted to capture the real experience of a region or a period in time (Regionalism).
Ambrose Bierce “Saint Ambrose” a. k. a. “Bitter Bierce” Bierce’s Background In 1887, he published a column called “Prattle” and became one of the first regular columnists and editorialists to be employed on William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner. He became the most prominent and influential among the writers and journalists of the West Coast. He remained associated with Hearst Newspapers until 1906.
People often criticized Bierce because he wrote realistically of the terrible things he had seen in the war, such as in “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. ” Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary It was first published in book form in 1906 as “The Cynic’s Word Book” because no publisher would take the book as it was originally titled. It consists of satirical definitions of English words.
The Concerns of Realism… 1. Depicted contemporary life and society “as they were. ” 2. Is based on common American speech at the time. 3. Is based in real world places to which readers could relate. 4. didn’t follow some of the literary and artistic conventions that more traditional writers glorified. 5. Was concerned with morals, but left the decision up to the reader.
The Concerns of Realism cont’d Realism… 6. Tries to Change Specific Social Problems 7. Focuses on the lives of ordinary people. 8. Was Anti-materialism. 9. Believes Nature is a powerful and indifferent force. 10. Believes Nature is beyond human control. 11. Believes Only the strong survive. 12. Believes Violence is a (often times, unfortunate) part of life.
Naturalism According to Naturalism… • Humans have no free will, or very little of it, because heredity and environment are so powerful in determining the course of human action. • Human beings, like lower animals, have no soul. Religion and morality are irrelevant. • A literary work should present life exactly as it is, without preachment, judgment, or embellishment. In this respect, naturalism is akin to realism. However, naturalism goes further than realism in that it presents a more detailed picture of everyday life. • Heredity and environment are the major forces that shape human beings.
Differences from Realism • While Realism believed that it should show things as they really are, naturalism also wanted to determine “scientifically” the underlying forces (nature) that shaped the reality. • Although it is Realism, American Naturalism was mostly a reaction against the mainstream Realism. • Realism discussed middle-class or “local color” topics, with taboos on sexuality and violence. Naturalism broke those taboos and talked about everyone, including poor people.
Jack London • London was born in 1876 in a house near the future site of AT&T Park in San Francisco. It burned down in the 1906 earthquake. • “To Build a Fire” is the best known of all his stories. Set during the Yukon Gold Rush, it explains how a new arrival, who has willfully ignored warnings about the risks of traveling alone, gets in trouble. After an accident, the unnamed man is keenly aware that survival depends on his untested skills at quickly building a fire to dry his clothes and warm his extremities.
Realism’s Reign Is Challenged when … • Film becomes a popular medium. • Franz Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo (June 28, 1914) • “The Great War” begins (1914) • WARNING: Realism never died. It formed the basis for Modernism. However, it no longer dominated the landscape of literature.
During Realism’s Reign… • The Reconstruction Era occurred (18651877) • The Statue of Liberty is finished (1876) • The Telephone is created (1876) • Professional Football begins (1895) • Ford creates the mass assembly of automobiles (1908)
What is Modernism? Don't confuse Modernism in Literature or the Modernists movement with the standard dictionary definition of modern. Modernism in Literature is not a chronological designation. Modernism in Literature consists of literary work possessing certain loosely defined characteristics.
The following characteristics of Modernism answer the question What is Modernism? • Modernism is marked by a strong and intentional break with tradition. This break includes a strong reaction against established religious, political, and social views. • Modernists believe the world is created in the act of perceiving it; that is, the world is what we say it is. • Modernists do not subscribe to absolute truth. All things are relative. • Modernists feel no connection with history or institutions. Their experience is that of alienation, loss, and despair. • Modernists champion the individual and celebrate inner strength. • Modernists believe life is unordered. • Modernists concern themselves with the sub-conscious.
American Modernism • Known as "The Lost Generation" American writers of the 1920 s Brought Modernism to the United States. For writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, World War I destroyed the illusion that acting virtuously brought about good. Like their British contemporaries, American Modernists rejected traditional institutions and forms. American Modernists include: • Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises chronicles the meaningless lives of the Lost Generation. Farewell to Arms narrates the tale of an ambulance driver searching for meaning in WWI. • F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby shows through its protagonist, Jay Gatsby, the corruption of the American Dream. • John Dos Passos, Hart Crane, and Sherwood Anderson are other prominent writers of the period.