April 8 2014
From Romanticism to Realism in 19th Century
The late nineteenth century was a period of incredible change as political empires broke up, independence rose, the power of the middle class replaced that of the dignity, and colonization grew. Although there were efforts to recover spiritual interest, normally organized religion reduced in influence in the late nineteenth century and was replaced by personal spiritual, moral, or theoretical beliefs. Literature developed as the creative standard that best expressed the social, economic, and logical concerns of the day, moving away from the issues and styles ...view middle of the document...
Realists wanted a truthful portrayal of modern-day life, a “part of life,” from an objective viewpoint. Similar in principle to realism, “naturalism” placed greater importance on science and nature. The most important mid-nineteenth-century writer was Charles Baudelaire, whose writings initiated the movement in poetry that would become known as “symbolism. “Symbolist poets, like Verlaine, Mallarmé, and Rimbaud, believed that the concern of poetry should be the verbal itself and the expression of the inner self as it is indirectly revealed through the memories attached to words and the relationships between words.
The Realist movement began in France, and its greatest writers were all French: Balzac, Flaubert, and etc. Honoré de Balzac wrote The Human Comedy, in which he portrayed over two thousand characters from French society. He pictured French urban society as greedy, unethical, and heartless, and locked in a Darwinian struggle for fortune and power. Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece was Madame Bovary, the story of a frustrated middle class housewife who has an adultery affair and is betrayed by her lover. Flaubert pictures the middle class as unimportant, self-righteous, and judgmental. The novel was prosecuted as an outrage against public morality and religion, but the prosecution failed. One of the Russian realist, was Count Leo Tolstoy, who wrote War and Peace, a huge in-depth novel of the attack of Russia by Napoleon in 1812. Tolstoy depicts history as accepting, free will is a delusion and the accomplishments of even the greatest leaders is little more than the controlling of past requirement. Realist writers believed that literature should show life as it was in fact, rather than a make-believe, romanticized delusion. They wrote style rather than poetry, and wrote from logical objective rather than an emotional...