American Realism and Naturalism！1865-1914，
I. Historical Background
; The Civil War (1860 – 1865)
; Industrialization & capitalism—produced extremes of wealth and poverty
; A deterioration of American moral values—admiration for driving ambition,
a lust for money and power
; Closing Frontier—disillusionment and frustration were widely felt—Gilded
2.The Age of Realism
; A major trend in the seventies and eighties of the nineteenth century ; A reaction against “the lie of romanticism and sentimentalism,”
; Expresses the concern for the commonplace and the low, and offers an objective
rather than an idealistic view of human nature and human experience. ; Features
; Representative writers: William Dean Howells(1837-1920)—genteel R, Mark
Twain(1835-1910)—local colorism, Henry James(1843-1916)—psychological R
; “verisimilitude” of detail derived from observation ！细节真实性，
; The effort to approach the norm of experience—a reliance on the representative in
plot, setting, and character！人物、情节与背景的代表性，
; To offer an objective rather than an idealized view of human nature and experience.
; Definition Realism is, in its broadest sense, simply fidelity to actuality in its
representation in literature. Realistic movement arose in the nineteenth century,
at least partially in reaction against Romanticism, which was centered on the
novel and dominant in France, England, and America from roughly
mid-century to the closing decade, when it was replaced by Naturalism.
Realism defines a literary method, a philosophical and political attitude, and a
particular range of subject matter. It depicts the familiar, ordinary aspects of
life in a matter-of-fact, straightforward manner designed to reflect life as it
actually is, and treats the subject matter in a way that presents careful
descriptions of everyday life. The surface details, the common actions, and the
minor catastrophes of a middle-class society constituted the chief subject
matter of the movement. Authors like Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Jane
Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Balzac, Tolstoi, Mark Twain, John
Galsworthy, and Sinclair Lewis are considered as realistic writers.
4.William Dean Howells (1837-1920)
; 1.Editor of The Atlantic Monthly
; 2. Powerful critical writings & generous patronage
; 3.First president of AAAL
; 4.Made for the triumph of realism of A. Lit.
; 5. write/criticize/help younger
A prolific writer, Howells is regarded as "the father of American Realism." Although
not an exciting writer, he broke new grounds which led to the achievements of Mark Twain and Henry James. In Howells' view, writing should be "simple, natural, and honest" and should not delve into "romantic exaggeration." His famous definition of the function of a writer indicates his limitations as a Realist writer and of Realism as he conceived of it: "Our novelists, therefore, concern themselves with the more smiling aspects of life, which are the more American, and seek the universal in the individual rather than the social interests."
; A Modern Instance 一个现代的例证
; The Rise of Silas Lapham
; A Hazard of New Fortunes 新财富的危机
; A Chance Acquaintance 偶然结识
; Criticism and Fiction— elucidates his literary-aesthetic ideas
; Literature and Life
Features of His Works
; a. Optimistic tone
; b. Emphasis on ethics
; c. Lacking of psychological depth
; Limitations: evil—slight; passion—restrained; triumphs—few. James—refinement,
Mark Twain—humor . Smiling brand of realism
; Life (1843-1916):
; Born in a wealthy cultured family of New England.
; Father: Henry James Senior.
; Brother: William James. Never worried about money.
; Influenced by William Dean Howells, George Eliot, Turgenev, Flaubert, and
; An expatriate/Settled down in London in 1876 and became a British citizen in 1915. ; Psychological analysis, forefather of stream of consciousness
; Psychological realism
; Highly-refined language
; Literary career: three stagesa:
a.1865~1882: international theme (American innocence vs. European sophistication).
The American/ Daisy Miller/ The Portrait of a Lady
b. 1882~1895: tales of subtle studies of inter-personal relationships and some plays (years of failure)
The Bostonians/ The Princess Casamassima/ The Tragic Muse
c. 1895~1916: novellas and tales dealing with childhood and adolescence, which was a revival of his earlier theme of innocence in a corrupted world
summit / the major phase/ back to “the international theme
The Turn of the Screw, When Maisie Knew, The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove
he Golden Bowl
The Ivory Tower
The Sense of the Past
Aesthetic ideas/The Art of Fiction
a. The aim of novel: represent life/ Art must be related to life.
b. Advocates an immense increase of freedom in novel writing and argues for inclusion of the disagreeable, the ugly, and the commonplace.
c. Advocates psychological description
Avoiding omniscient point of view
Point of view
Signifies the way a story gets told—the mode/modes established by an author by
means of which the reader is represented with the characters, dialogue, actions, setting, and events which constitute the narrative in a work of fiction.
Limited point of view
The narrator tells the story in the third person, but stays inside the confines of what is perceived, thought, remembered and felt by a single character (or at most by very few characters) within the story. Henry James, who refined this narrative mode, described such a selected character as his “focus”, or “mirror”, or “center of consciousness”. Later writers
developed this technique into stream-of-consciousness narration.
Style/ A stylist
a. Language: highly-refined, polished, insightful, accurate
b. Vocabulary: large
c. Construction: complicated, intricate
A Man Said to the Universe
; 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
; Cold, indifferent, and essentially Godless world
American Naturalism—pessimistic realism/ determinism
; 1) The emergence of “Modern America”
; Industrialism and science and the new philosophy of life——create the
economic, social, and cultural transformations of the country
; 2) New ideas about man and man’s place in the universe began to take root in
; Darwin: evolution; Spencer: social evolution
; The survival of the fittest & the human beast
; 3) the change of the literary climate
; Realists : too old French naturalism
2. Representatives: Stephen Crane, Norris and Theodore Dreiser
Naturalism is the attempt to achieve fidelity to nature by rejecting idealized portrayals of life. In literature naturalism may be further defined as a technique of presenting an objective view of man or a mood with complete accuracy and frankness. Naturalistic writers hold that man’s existence is shaped by heredity and environment,
over which he has no control. Novels and plays in this movement, emphasizing the animal nature of man, portray characters engrossed in a brutal struggle for survival.
Emile Zola, founder of the French school of naturalism, held that a novelist should dissect and analyze his subjects with dispassionate and scientific accuracy. Representative writers of naturalism are Theodore Dreiser, Ernest Hemingway, Eugene O’Neill, and William Faulkner.
4.Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
; 1893: Maggie: A Girl of the Streets—first A. naturalistic work
; 1895: The Red Badge of Courage (war novel)& The Black Riders ( book of poems)
; 1898: The Open Boat and Other Stories
; A precursor of Imagist poetry
5. Frank Norris(1870-1902)
; McTeague！1899， — the manifesto of A. naturalism
; A trilogy on the production, distribution, and consumption of wheat:
; The Octopus (1901，
; The Pit ！1903，
; The Responsibilities of the
6. Other Authors of the Period
; 1. Edwin Arlington Robinson(1860 – 1935)
; 2. Jack London (1876 – 1916)
; 3. O. Henry(1862 – 1910)
Read your textbook on P151-153
Genre American Author Perceived the individual as... Romantics Ralph Waldo Emerson a god
Realists Henry James
William Dean Howells simply a person
Naturalists Stephen Crane /Frank Norris a helpless object