Realistic Period: 1855-1915
- Writers attempt to capture the cultural, geographic, and speech uniqueness of different regions of U.S.
- Also known as "local color."
- Vernacular style: dialect represented by misspelled words.
- Transition between Romanticism and hard-core realism
- Often indicted as “sentimentalism.”
- Noted writers: Mark Twain, Bret Harte
- Focuses on the ordinary; no aspect of life unworthy of literature.
- Often referred to as a "slice of life"; microscopic view of life; up-close look at society and people.
- verisimilitude: truthful similarity.
- Writers thought of themselves as literary scientists and objective reporters.
- psychological realism
- Champion: Writer/critic William Dean Howells
- Charles Darwin; HMS Beagle
- Origin of Species
- Survival of fittest; dog eat dog
- Social Darwinism; monopolies, right of eminent domain.
- Writing often has a pessimistic tone.
- Often shows characters acting in futility with little or no free will.
- fate and fatalism; determinism
- Life is ruled by chance, heredity, fate, and randomness.
- Nature is either indifferent to man or openly hostile to man.
- Noted authors: Stephen Crane, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London