The Cambridge Introduction to American Literary Realism

Author: Phillip J. Barrish

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139502654

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: N.A

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Between the Civil War and the First World War, realism was the most prominent form of American fiction. Realist writers of the period include some of America's greatest, such as Henry James, Edith Wharton and Mark Twain, but also many lesser-known writers whose work still speaks to us today, for instance Charles Chesnutt, Zitkala-Ša and Sarah Orne Jewett. Emphasizing realism's historical context, this introduction traces the genre's relationship with powerful, often violent, social conflicts involving race, gender, class and national origin. It also examines how the realist style was created; the necessarily ambiguous relationship between realism produced on the page and reality outside the book; and the different, often contradictory, forms 'realism' took in literary works by different authors. The most accessible yet sophisticated account of American literary realism currently available, this volume will be of great value to students, teachers and readers of the American novel.

American Literary Realism, Critical Theory, and Intellectual Prestige, 1880–1995

Author: Phillip Barrish

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781139431958

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: N.A

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Focusing on key works of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literary realism, Phillip Barrish traces the emergence of new ways of gaining intellectual prestige - that is, new ways of gaining cultural recognition as unusually intelligent, sensitive or even wise. Through extended readings of works by Henry James, William Dean Howells, Abraham Cahan and Edith Wharton, Barrish emphasises the differences between literary realist modes of intellectual and cultural authority and those associated with the rise of the social sciences. In doing so, he greatly refines our understanding of the complex relationship between realist writing and masculinity. Barrish further argues that understanding the dynamics of intellectual status in realist literature provides new analytic purchase on intellectual prestige in recent critical theory. Here he focuses on such figures as Lionel Trilling, Paul de Man, John Guillory and Judith Butler.

Black and White Strangers

Race and American Literary Realism

Author: Kenneth W. Warren

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226873855

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 178

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In a major contribution to the study of race in American literature, Kenneth W. Warren argues that late-nineteenth-century literary realism was shaped by and in turn helped to shape post-Civil War racial politics. Taking up a variety of novelists, including Henry James and William Dean Howells, he shows that even works not directly concerned with race were instrumental in the return after reconstruction to a racially segregated society.

Playing the Races

Ethnic Caricature and American Literary Realism

Author: Henry B. Wonham

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198036647

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 208

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Why did so many of the writers who aligned themselves with the social and aesthetic aims of American literary realism rely on stock conventions of ethnic caricature in their treatment of immigrant and African-American figures? As a self-described "tool of the democratic spirit," designed to "prick the bubble of abstract types," literary realism would seem to have little in common with the aggressively dehumanizing comic imagery that began to proliferate in magazines and newspapers after the Civil War. Indeed, critics such as Alain Locke hailed realism's potential to accomplish "the artistic emancipation of the Negro," a project that logically extended to other groups systematically misrepresented in the comic imagery of the period. From the influential "Editor's Study" at Harper's Monthly, William Dean Howells touted the democratic impulse of realist imagery as an alternative to romanticism's "pride of caste," which is "averse to the mass of men" and "consents to know them only in some conventionalized and artificial guise." Yet if literary realism pursued the interests of democracy by affirming "the equality of things and the unity of men," why did its major practitioners, including Howells himself, regularly employ comic typification as a feature of their representational practice? Critics have often dismissed such apparent lapses in realist practice as blind spots, vestiges of a genteel social consciousness that failed to keep pace with realism's avowed democratic aspirations. Such explanations are useful to a point, but they overlook the fact that the age of realism in American art and letters was simultaneously the great age of ethnic caricature. Henry B. Wonham argues that these two aesthetic programs, one committed to representation of the fully humanized individual, the other invested in broad ethnic abstractions, operate less as antithetical choices than as complementary impulses, both of which receive full play within the period's most demanding literary and graphic works. The seemingly anomalous presence of gross ethnic abstractions within works by Howells, Twain, James, Wharton, and Chesnutt hints at realism's vexed and complicated relationship with the caricatured ethnic images that played a central role in late nineteenth-century American thinking about race, identity, and national culture. In illuminating that relationship, Playing the Races offers a fresh understanding of the rich literary discourse conceived at the intersection of the realist and the caricatured image.

American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract

Author: Brook Thomas,University Brook Thomas

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520206472

Category: Fiction

Page: 359

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"Moving expertly from legal analysis to social history to profoundly recontextualized literary critique, Thomas shows how writers like Twain, James, Howells, and Chopin took up contract as a model, formally and thematically evoking its possibilities and dramatizing its failures.

Utopia & Cosmopolis

Globalization in the Era of American Literary Realism

Author: Thomas Peyser

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 9780822322474

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 195

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A discussion of Henry James and other utopian writers (Charlotte Perkins, Gilman, Edward Bellamy and William Dean Howells) and how the commercial and territorial expansion of the U.S. prompted these utopians to imagine a universal culture standing at the

The Fabric of American Literary Realism

Readymade Clothing, Social Mobility and Assimilation

Author: Babak Elahi

Publisher: McFarland

ISBN: 0786453540

Category: Social Science

Page: 228

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This critical study traces the connections between the rising economic importance of the garment industry and the advent of a powerful movement towards literary realism in American fiction. Examining the works of Henry James, Theodor Dreiser, Abraham Cahan, Anzia Yezierska, and Willa Cather and the shifting of the American ideal from the “homespun” to the “ready made,” it explains how that cultural and psychological change appeared in the new literature of the nation.

Anthology of American Literature: Realism to the present

Author: George L. McMichael

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 2223

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This leading, two-volume anthology represents America's literary heritage from the colonial times of William Bradford and Anne Bradstreet to the contemporary era of Saul Bellow and Alice Walker. Volume II begins with Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson and moves through Toni Morrison. It reflects a continued emphasis on cultural plurality, and multiple selections by authors that enables readers to compare and contrast different works. Numerous editions in their entirety include Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Crane's The Red Badge of Courage; William's The Glass Menagerie; Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun; and Miller's Death of a Salesman. Also featured are shorter works—such as “How to Tell a Story,” by Mark Twain; Poems by Rita Dove; short stories by Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, and Toni Morrison. For modern scholars of America's literary history, and readers who simply love to read—especially the classics.

Reference Works in British and American Literature

Author: James K. Bracken

Publisher: Libraries Unlimited

ISBN: 9781563085185

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 726

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Bracken identifies and describes a substantial portion of the currently available reference sources in British and American literature with more than 1,500 resources on individual writers. Descriptive annotations offer thorough and detailed assessments of the works.

Artistic Liberties

American Literary Realism and Graphic Illustration, 1880-1905

Author: Adam Sonstegard

Publisher: University of Alabama Press

ISBN: 0817318054

Category: Art

Page: 230

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Artistic Liberties is a landmark study of the illustrations that originally accompanied now-classic works of American literary realism and the ways editors, authors, and illustrators vied for authority over the publications. Though today, we commonly read major works of nineteenth-century American literature in unillustrated paperbacks or anthologies, many of them first appeared as magazine serials, accompanied by ample illustrations that sometimes made their way into the serials’ first printings as books. The graphic artists creating these illustrations often visually addressed questions that the authors had left for the reader to interpret, such as the complexions of racially ambiguous characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The artists created illustrations that depicted what outsiders saw in Huck and Jim in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, rather than what Huck and Jim learned to see in one another. These artists even worked against the texts on occasion—for instance, when the illustrators reinforced the same racial stereotypes that writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar had intended to subvert in their works. Authors of American realism commonly submitted their writing to editors who allowed them little control over the aesthetic appearance of their work. In his groundbreaking Artistic Liberties, Adam Sonstegard studies the illustrations from these works in detail and finds that the editors employed illustrators who were often unfamiliar with the authors’ intentions and who themselves selected the literary material they wished to illustrate, thereby taking artistic liberties through the tableaux they created. Sonstegard examines the key role that the appointed artists played in visually shaping narratives—among them Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Stephen Crane’s The Monster, and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth—as audiences tended to accept their illustrations as guidelines for understanding the texts. In viewing these works as originally published, received, and interpreted, Sonstegard offers a deeper knowledge not only of the works, but also of the realities surrounding publication during this formative period in American literature.

Affecting Fictions

Mind, Body, and Emotion in American Literary Realism

Author: Jane F. Thrailkill

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674025127

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 312

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What happens when the cerebral encounters the corporeal? In this study, what emerges is an important vision of late-nineteenth-century American realist literature and the role of emotion and physiology in literary criticism. Thrailkill offers a new understanding of American literary realism that draws on neuroscience and cognitive psychology, positioning her argument against the emotionless interpretations of the New Critics.

To Be Suddenly White

Literary Realism and Racial Passing

Author: Steven J. Belluscio

Publisher: University of Missouri Press

ISBN: 9780826264855

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 288

View: 6616

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"Explores the challenges of subjective passing narratives written during the height of literary realism. Discusses racial and ethnic differences, assimilation, passing, and identity by comparing African-American narratives of James Johnson, Nella Larson, and George Schuyler and "white" ethnic (Jewish-American and Italian-American) narratives by Mary Antin, Anzia Yezierska, and Guido d'Agostino"--Provided by publisher.

The Problem of American Realism

Studies in the Cultural History of a Literary Idea

Author: Michael Davitt Bell

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226042022

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 245

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Ever since William Dean Howells declared his "realism war" in the 1880s, literary historians have regarded the rise of "realism" and "naturalism" as the great development in American post-Civil War fiction. Yet there are many problems with this generalization. It is virtually impossible, for example, to extract from the novels and manifestoes of American writers of this period any consistent definitions of realism or naturalism as modes of literary representation. Rather than seek common traits in widely divergent "realist" and "naturalist" literary works, Michael Davitt Bell focuses here on the role that these terms played in the social and literary discourse of the 1880s and 1890s. Bell argues that in America, "realism" and "naturalism" never achieved the sort of theoretical rigor that they did in European literary debate. Instead, the function of these ideas in America was less aesthetic than ideological, promoting as "reality" a version of social normalcy based on radically anti-"literary" and heavily gendered assumptions. What effects, Bell asks, did ideas about realism and naturalism have on writers who embraced and resisted them? To answer this question, he devotes separate chapters to the work of Howells and Frank Norris (the principal American advocates of realism and naturalism in the 1880s and 1890s), Mark Twain, Henry James, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, and Sarah Orne Jewett. Bell reveals that a chief function of claiming to be a realist or a naturalist was to provide assurance that one was a "real" man rather than an "effeminate" artist. Since the 1880s, Bell asserts, all serious American fiction writers have had to contend with this problematic conception of literary realism. The true story of the transformation of American fiction after the Civil War is the history of this contention - a history of individual accommodations, evasions, holding actions, and occasional triumphs.

American Realism and American Drama, 1880-1940

Author: Brenda Murphy

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521327114

Category: Drama

Page: 232

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The importance of Native American realism is traced through a study of the evolution of dramatic theory from the early 1890s through World War I and the uniquely American innovations in realistic drama between world wars.

Realism’s Others

Author: Geoffrey Baker,Eva Aldea

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

ISBN: 1443823465

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 315

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For at least a century, scholarship on realist narrative, and occasional polemics against realist narrative, have assumed that realism promotes the values of sameness against those of otherness, and that it does so by use of a narrative mode that excludes certain epistemologies, ideologies, and ways of thinking. However, the truth is more complex than that, as the essays in this volume all demonstrate. Realism’s Others examines the various strategies by which realist narratives create the idea of difference, whether that difference is registered in terms of class, ethnicity, epistemology, nationality, or gender. The authors in this collection examine in detail not just the fact of otherness in some canonical realist and canonical magical-realist and postmodern novels, but the actual means by which that otherness is established by the text. These essays suggest that neither realist narrative nor narratives positioned as anti-realist take otherness for granted; rather, the texts discussed here actively create difference, and this creation of difference often occasions severe difficulties for the novels’ representational schema. How does one represent different types of knowledge, other aesthetic modes or other spaces, for example, in texts whose epistemology has long been seen as secular and empirical, whose aesthetic mode has always been approached as pure descriptive mimesis, and whose settings are largely domestic? These essays all begin with a certain collision—of nationalities, of classes, of representational matrices, of religions—and go on to chart the challenges that this collision presents to our ideas or stereotypes of realism, or to the possibilities of writing against and beyond realism. This question motivates examination of key realist or social-realist texts, in some of these essays, by Honoré de Balzac, George Eliot, Franz Grillparzer, Theodor Storm, Gottfried Keller, Theodor Fontane, Wilhelm Raabe, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Charles Chesnutt, Theodore Dreiser, H. T. Tsiang, Alan Sillitoe, and Richard Yates. However, it is no less central a question in certain non-realist texts which engage realist aims to a surprising degree, often to debate them openly; some of these essays discuss, in this light, fantastic, magical realist, and postmodern works by Abram Tertz, Paul Auster, Alejo Carpentier, Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, Salman Rushdie, and A. S. Byatt. Realism becomes more than an aesthetic aim or narrative mode. It becomes, rather, a value evoked and discussed by all of the works analyzed here, in order to reveal its impact on fiction’s treatment of ethnicity, nationality, ideology, space, gender, and social class.