Local Color

Topics: Literature, Fiction, Short story Pages: 14 (5145 words) Published: July 4, 2012
http://ezinearticles.com/?Local-Color-in-Literature&id=3074106 The setting plays major role in prose fiction. The dialect spoken, the customs observed, the dress code prevalent, and the way of living all can be peculiar to a particular region. This sort of setting is called a local color of the area or region. You must have come across such peculiarity of an area while reading a prose or a novel. Such beautiful local color called "Wessex" (present-day Dorset) is painted by Thomas Hardy in his novels. If you read a wide range of his novels, the Wessex will emerge in front of your mind's eye - so beautiful, so vivid! Rudyard Kipling's India also shares the same local color. R. K. Narayan beautifully portrays the imaginary village of "Malgudi" - set somewhere in South India - in his novels. The representation of the local shade or color continues emerging in the writings of several writers. After the Civil War, many American writers used the local color of America. For instance, the various parts of America just as the Mississippi region was used by Mark Twain, the south by George Washington Cable, the Midwest by E. W. Howe, the West by Bret Harte, and New England by Mary Wilkins Freeman and the Sarah Orne Jewett. The writing concerned with the local colour focuses mainly on the particularity of the area. It is basically about the comic or sentimental representation of the surface distinctiveness of a region. It does not represent the deep, complex and the generalized characteristics and problems of the region. It is the powerful representation of the local color in the novels, the Wessex in Hardy's novels, and the Malgudi in R. K. Narayan's novels have become immortal in the history of literature! Rakesh Patel is an aspiring poet, freelance writer, self-published author and teacher. Read his blog http://typesofpoetry99.blogspot.com/ Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rakesh_Ramubhai_Patel

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3074106
Local Color in Literature
By Rakesh Ramubhai Patel
Regionalism and Local Color Fiction, 1865-1895

Regionalism and Local Color Bibliography
Local color or regional literature is fiction and poetry that focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features particular to a specific region. Influenced by Southwestern and Down East humor, between the Civil War and the end of the nineteenth century this mode of writing became dominant in American literature. According to the Oxford Companion to American Literature, "In local-color literature one finds the dual influence of romanticism and realism, since the author frequently looks away from ordinary life to distant lands, strange customs, or exotic scenes, but retains through minute detail a sense of fidelity and accuracy of description" (439). Its weaknesses may include nostalgia or sentimentality. Its customary form is the sketch or short story, although Hamlin Garland argued for the novel of local color. Regional literature incorporates the broader concept of sectional differences, although in Writing Out of Place, Judith Fetterley and Marjorie Pryse have argued convincingly that the distinguishing characteristic that separates "local color" writers from "regional" writers is instead the exploitation of and condescension toward their subjects that the local color writers demonstrate. One definition of the difference between realism and local color is Eric Sundquist's: "Economic or political power can itself be seen to be definitive of a realist aesthetic, in that those in power (say, white urban males) have been more often judged 'realists,' while those removed from the seats of power (say, Midwesterners, blacks, immigrants, or women) have been categorized as regionalists."  See also the definition from the Encyclopedia of Southern Literature. Many critics, including Amy Kaplan ("Nation, Region, and Empire" in the Columbia Literary History...

Bibliography: Sources
Josephine Donovan, New England Local Color Literature: A Woman’s Tradition (New York: Ungar, 1983);
Leon Howard, Literature and the American Tradition (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1960);
Eric Sundquist, ed., American Realism: New Essays (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982).
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