09-Realism - 009_Realism READINGS REALISM Background Eugen...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
009_Realism.doc READINGS: REALISM Background: Eugen Weber, The Positivistic Reaction: Realism and Naturalism Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The German Ideology Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto (1848) Champfleury, Letter to Madame Sand, concerning M. Courbet Zola: The Experimental Novel Zola: Germinal Background: Eugen Weber, THE POSITIVISTIC REACTION: REALISM AND NATURALISM, Movements, Currents, Trends , pp. 135-140. The Oxford Dictionary defines Realism as "the practice of regarding things in their true nature and dealing with them as they are, freedom from prejudice and convention, practical views and policy; fidelity of representation, truth to nature, insistence upon details:" It defines Naturalism as a "view of the world that excludes the supernatural or spiritual; realistic method, adherence to nature, in literature and art; indifference to conventions." Apart from the exclusion of "supernatural or spiritual," there seems to be little to choose between the two terms. We have the choice, of course, of regarding Realism as a further stage of the Romantic interest in nature, truth and freedom, shading off into a Naturalism that merely carries these ideas to their logical conclusion; or seeing the same movements as successive steps away from idealistic Romanticism, on the path of less subjective and more positive, less private and more impersonal action. There is probably some truth in both views, and Sainte-Beuve's essay of 1830 lends credence to both, but no reader of Realistic or Naturalistic writers can miss the note of imagination or passion, the frequent inaccuracies, the slipshod arguments, the vague assertions, the armory of the very Romantic school they were trying to leave behind. It might be possible to go even further and argue that each of these schools continues a different Romantic tendency, that Realism was simply a more advanced aspect of social romanticism, and Naturalism resulted from the marriage of contemporary scientism and art for art's sake. Both schools refer to nature, as the Romantics had done, but no longer to those pure or noble aspects of it that earlier Romantics preferred. By a natural reaction against the artificially elevated themes proned by the Establishment and by a bourgeois morality anxious above all not to rock the boat, they select in their work, in their moralizing, not the lofty and the fine but the ugly and the low. They differ among themselves, however, as to the kind of ugliness that catches their eyes: realists like Courbet, Couture, Flaubert, stress the bourgeois, the vulgar, and the commonplace; naturalists like Degas or Zola, Lautrec or Goncourt, lean toward the extraordinary, the picturesquely peculiar, the more sensational aspects of low life. Madness, corruption, and death recur in their works and in their lives, as does the prostitute, symbol of moral and social decay. All the great Naturalist writers seem to have taken the prostitute for a model at least once: in 1876 Huysmans published
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/15/2011 for the course HISTORY 106 taught by Professor Dennis during the Spring '11 term at Loyola Chicago.

Page1 / 31

09-Realism - 009_Realism READINGS REALISM Background Eugen...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online