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|Title: ||ENGL 361-01, American Realism and Naturalism, Fall 2009|
|Authors: ||Petty, Leslie|
|Date Issued: ||26-Aug-2009|
|Publisher: ||Rhodes College|
|Series/Report no.: ||Syllabi CRN;10240|
|Abstract: ||Simply put, American Realism and Naturalism were concomitant aesthetic movements that
developed in the second half of the nineteenth century as a reaction against Romanticism brought on
by post-Civil War disillusionment.A s far as it goes,t his definition suits;h owever,i t is only the
broadest outline ofwhat cultural and artistic forces shaped American literature from about 1875-
1910, producing the variety of literary forms and achievementsth at fall under the urnbrella headings
"realist" and/or ohaturalist."
For example,t echnologicaal nd scientifica dvancess ucha s the verisimilitudeo fphotography
made authors re-think the way they used language, as did the rise of the middle-class and the
development of historiography, with its attention to telling the narrative of history in a plausible
cause/effects equenceA. Darwinian understandingo f the world was increasingly cofiunon, making
people more attuned to the ways humans were products, not just (or even primarily) of their human
"soul," but alsoo f environmentaal ndb iological factors.
Industrialism meant that the nation was becoming more homogenized, and an unexpected
consequencew as an increasedi nterest in storiesa bout the particularities of various regions.
Newly freed slaves, a burgeoning immigrant population and a large class of single white
women demandingt heir rights changedn ot only the demographicsa nd social awarenesso f the
nation, but contributed to the development of a realist and naturalist aesthetic as well.
Finally, this was the moment when the novel "came of age," so to speak; a generation of
writers such as James, Howells and Twain began theorizing what makes the novel successful and
what its merits are, in an attempt to elevate its status from simple mass entertainment to a legitimate
art form. In this course, we will attempt to trace this intricate web ofhistorical, cultural and aesthetic
developments, considering how they grew out of the legacy of the Civil War but also how they
propelled the nation toward modernity in the twentieth-century.|
|Description: ||This syllabus was submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by the course instructor.|
|Appears in Collections:||English Department. Syllabi|
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