I. The Realistic period: (1865-1900).
During this period modern America was born and the American dream has been intellectually lost. After the civil War a strong critical movement toward realism appeared. Realism has been defined by one of its most vigorous advocates, W.D.Howells, as “the truthful treatment of materials” (i.e. realism= verisimilitude “the appearance of being true or real”). * What is realism:
Realistic fiction is often opposed to romantic fiction: romantic writing is said to present life as we would have it be, idealized, more picturesque, more adventurous, more heroic than the actual; realism, to present an accurate imitation of life as it is. The realist sets out to write a fiction which will give the illusion that it reflects life as it seems to the common reader. To achieve this effect, the realist is deliberately selective in his material and prefers the average, the common place, and the everyday over the rarer aspects of the contemporary scene. His characters, therefore, are usually of the middle class or (less frequently) the working class-people without highly exceptional endowments, who live through ordinary experiences of childhood, love, marriage, parenthood, infidelity and death, and who may, under special circumstances, display something akin to heroism. * Major forms of realism in USA:
A. The local color fiction: The local color fiction was the first manifestation of realism in America. It is also referred to as “regionalism”, it means fidelity in writing to a specific geographical region accurately representing its speech, manners, customs, folklore, beliefs, dress, and history. Among many others, Mark Twain adopted that kind of regionalism. He portrayed life in the Mississippi through his famous The adventure of...