American Regionalism, Realism,
What is Realism?
A faithful representation of reality in
literature, also known as
Emphasis on development of
Written in natural vernacular, or
Prominent from 1860-1890.
Why did Realism develop?
The Civil War
The urbanization and industrialization of
As a reaction to Romanticism
Increasing rates of democracy and literacy
The emerging middle class
Upheaval and social change in the latter
half of the 19th century
Nineteenth-century Definitions of
Romance focuses “upon the extraordinary, the
mysterious, the imaginary.” –Bliss Perry
Nathaniel Hawthorne: the romance “has fairly
a right to present that truth under
circumstances, to a great extent, of the
writer’s own choosing or creation” (Preface
to The House of the Seven Gables)
Romance and Realism:
Taste and Class
Aspired to the ideal Thought to be more
Thought to be more democratic
genteel since it did not Critics stressed the
show the vulgar details potential for vulgarity
of life and its emphasis on the
Potential “poison” for
the pure of mind
What is Regionalism?
Often called “local color.”
Focuses on characters, dialect, customs, topography,
and other features specific to a certain region (eg. the
Coincided with Realism and sharing many of the
Prominent from 1865-1895.
Mary E. Wilkins-
Why did Regionalism develop?
Dual influence of Romanticism and
The Civil War and the building of a
An outgrowth of realism with more
focus on a particular setting and its
influence over characters
What is Naturalism?
Applied scientific principles of
objectivity and detachment to the study
of human beings.
Influenced by Darwinism (natural
selection) and psychology (Freud)
Posited that men were governed by
heredity and environment.
Often depict man in conflict with nature,
society, or himself.
Prominent from 1880-1920s
Why did Naturalism develop?
The swell of immigrants in the latter half of
the 19th century, which led to a larger lower
class and increased poverty in the cities
The prominence of psychology and the
theories of Sigmund Freud
Pessimism in the wake of the Civil War and
Publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of
Points to Remember…
Realism, Regionalism, and
Naturalism are intertwined and
Their influence has dominated most
literature created since 1920, though
the movement itself is dated to
roughly that point.
They are truly American modes of