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Naturalism and Regionalism | essay-paper

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Naturalism in american literature essays

In the wake of Parrington’s attempt to reconcile the rise of realism and naturalism with an essentially romantic tradition (), interest in the rise of these movements has occurred in waves. In particular, efforts to provide large-scale summaries reflect the attention to social problems in 1960s, and the influence of—and reaction to—post-structuralism and cultural criticism in the 1980s. In all cases, however, comprehensive hypotheses about the nature of realism and naturalism remain grounded, to a large extent, in the political, economic, and cultural history of the late 19th century. , , and represent attempts to accommodate the horizons established by Parrington’s definition of the study of literary form. , , and each make valuable contributions to the new historicist reexamination of naturalism. offers one of the few comprehensive accounts of realism within dramatic literature.

Essay on Naturalism and Realism - 1298 Words | Bartleby

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… what [atheists], whatever their numbers, really have now … is a monopoly on legitimate forms of knowledge about the natural world. They have this monopoly for the same reason that computer manufacturers have an edge over crystal-ball makers: the advantages of having an actual explanation of things and processes are self-evident. What works wins. We know that men were not invented but slowly evolved from smaller animals; that the earth is not the center of the universe but one among a billion planets in a distant corner; and that, in the billions of years of the universe’s existence, there is no evidence of a single miraculous intercession with the laws of nature. We need not imagine that there’s no Heaven; we know that there is none, and we will search for angels forever in vain. A God can still be made in the face of all that absence, but he will always be chairman of the board, holding an office of fine title and limited powers.

Essay realism and naturalism literature

Such problems pose far less threat to more moderate forms of naturalism, based on a broader conception of science that includes mathematics, history, much of philosophy, and the sensible parts of literary criticism, as well as the natural and social sciences. But we should not take for granted that reality contains only the kinds of things that science even in the broad sense recognizes. My caution comes not from any sympathy for mysterious kinds of cognition alien to science in the broad sense, but simply from the difficulty of establishing in any remotely scientific way that reality contains only the kinds of thing that we are capable of recognizing at all. In any case, Professor Rosenberg does not rest content with some moderate form of naturalism. He goes for something far more extreme, in the process lapsing into hard scientism.

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Essay realism and naturalism literature video

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Essay realism and naturalism literature meaning

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. D. Howells, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, George Washington Cable, Rebecca Harding Davis, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Hamlin Garland. 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 1880 treatise applied the experimental methods of medical science to the construction of the novel. Governed by a combination of heredity, environment, and chance, the typical characters of naturalist fiction find themselves constrained from achieving the transcendent goals suggested by a false ideology of romantic individualism. Over the past century, critics and literary historians have alternately viewed realist and naturalist texts as explicit condemnations of the economic, cultural, or ethical deficiencies of the industrialized age or as representations of the very ideological forces they purport to critique. Accordingly, an exploration of these texts raises important questions about the relationship between literature and society, and about our understanding of the “real” or the “natural” as cultural and literary phenomena. Though of little regard in the wake of the New Critics’ emphasis on metaphysics and formal innovation, a revived interest in realism as the American adaptation of an international movement aligned with egalitarian and democratic ideology emerged in the 1960s, as did an effort to redefine naturalist fiction as a more complex form belonging to the broader mainstream of American literary history. More recently, the emergence of deconstructive, Marxist, and new historicist criticism in the 1980s afforded a revised, and often skeptical, reevaluation of realism and naturalism as more conflicted forms, itself defined or constructed by hegemonic forces and offering insight into late-19th- and early-20th-century ideologies of class, race, and gender.

Essay realism and naturalism literature naturalists

Provides compelling readings of the canonical authors, suggesting little common ground beyond the fact that both realism and naturalism explicitly reject the conventional dictates of artistry and dominant notions of style. Unified in their attraction to “reality” as an abstraction, Howells, Twain, James, Norris, Crane, Dreiser, and Jewett each constructed radically unique responses to a common “revolt against style” (p. 115)

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