Leo Tolstoy And The Romantic Era

2297 words - 9 pages

Hannifin 1Kelsey HannifinMr. KaminskiEnglish 10, 1A9 May 2014Leo Tolstoy and the Romantic EraIn the early 1700s a new movement emerged from the Enlightenment period, the Romantic era, which lasted until the mid-nineteenth century. The Romantic mindset was prominent in writing through emphasizing the self, creativity, and imagination, which contrasted that of the Enlightenment. It was during this period that the Realist movement began in France in the 1840s, and eventually spread to the rest of Europe and to the Americas until around the 1890s. Realist writers, like Leo Tolstoy, focused on everyday life and its harsh reality instead of glorifying it, and criticized social conditions as well. Some of Leo Tolstoy's most known works are Anna Karenina and War and Peace. As a Russian realist, Tolstoy was influential to the Romantic period because of his contributions to literature through Realism, his own beliefs and values, and Pacifism throughout his works.Leo Tolstoy was one of the first Russian writers to introduce a new type of literature and mindset to the era. The Romantic Movement had witnessed a shift from faith in reason during the Enlightenment era, to faith in imagination and the senses. Its literature tended to emphasize love of nature, valuing the natural man, and the Romantic belief that many of the flaws of society were a result of urbanization and heredity. Realism sharply contrasted with Romantic literature. Emile Zola defended his first novel against harsh accusations over its morality. His statement that his characters were 'dominated by nerves and their blood, deprived of free-will' provided for the key themes of realism (Mckay 815). Unlike romantics, realists did not glorify individual freedom or the individual itself. In the newfound manner of realist writing, characters were the center of interest as opposed to bystanders. Leo Tolstoy managed to achieve extraordinary realism by including his personalities and thoughts into those of his characters. In fact, the Russian had become so enveloped with creating such robust people that he actually lived as them for quite some time. His wife had to bear the many personalities of Lev Nikolayevich who hated women, Tolstoy the social revolutionary, and Lev the peasant (Wilson viii). Tolstoy eventually admitted to despising how realistic his characters had become in his writings, having "outsoared their creators". William Shakespeare, an extremely well-known author and playwright, had the tendency to conceive in-depth characters, which explains one of the reasons why Tolstoy loathed the man (Wilson ix).The short story of Master and Man was written in omnipotent viewpoint, where the narrator is all-knowing. This way of writing spread westward throughout the 19th century. Leo Tolstoy's early diaries showed the first signs of his obsession over perfecting himself, which connected with realists' points about a flawed society. He had taken notes concerning different personalities he had...

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