Realism And The Humanities Essay

1976 words - 8 pages

Realism in and of itself is a broad subject, and has many different areas that can be discussed. The Realism Movement directly challenged Romanticism and the romanticists, because it was more interested in showing how things were, rather than feelings, beauty, and subjectivity that the romantics favored. Many things were gained from the movement, and its effects still stay around today. This is obvious in various works, like Chekhov and Ibsen, and in artwork that is still revered today. The Realism Movement impacted many different areas in literature and the arts, and spanned many countries and centuries, affecting and changing how these things were, and are still, viewed by the people. ...view middle of the document...

Realism is hard to define, especially when the words ‘classical’, ‘naturalism’, and ‘socialist’ get thrown into the mix. The thing that all types of realism have in common are that they assume relationships between the work itself and the world. Naturalism was more focused on explanations, and showing that nothing existed outside of nature, like the supernatural, and is usually associated with the French novelist Emile Zola. Socialist Realism was usually used in Russia to imitate the principles of a certain society, and classical realism was focused on traditions from Western art, like impressionism (“Realism.” The Bloomsbury Dictionary of English Literature). These are only three of the many different forms that realism has.
The Romantic Movement had a lot to do with the start of realism, because of the way romantic novelists and artists chose to portray life unrealistically. A lot of the remarks that romantic novelists had to say about realism were that the writers were detached and unfeeling by criticizing and pointing out a certain aspect in society that was not usually discussed. Topics that realist writers often chose to write about were disease, adultery, and death, with a particular focus on the middle class. For these reasons many realist writers were subjected to heavy criticism.
When realism is discussed many important names in literature are brought up, such as Daniel Defoe, Anton Chekhov, and William Dean Howells. Of course with more advanced methods of photography, realism also appeared in the arts. One of the most famous realist painters is Gustave Courbet, whose painting, Burial at Ornans, garnered some rather harsh criticism from certain people who were still more interested in the romantic approach to art.
There are plenty of realist writers from the eighteenth century that had a major impact on realism, one of which being Daniel Defoe, who is considered by many to be the first english novelist. (“Daniel Defoe.”). A lot of his writing inspiration came from his own life and experiences, which often involved being in debt. He was viewed as a realist writer because of his works “realistic subject matter, and plain and powerful prose” (“Daniel Defoe.”). Other realist writers of the eighteenth century were the Scottish authors Tobias Smollett and Thomas Reid, and the English author Henry Fielding. Thomas Reid founded the Scottish School of Common Sense, Tobias Smollett was most known for his colorful novels, and Henry Fielding created what is described by many to be the best interpretation of Bourgeois realism.
In eighteenth century Russia there were enormous transformations happening, not only in literature, but in politics and society as well. With the transformations in literature there was an increase in “publishing activity, especially periodical production” (“Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms.”). Even though there was a rise in all these things, truly talented writers did not appear until...

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