Literary Realism in Editha

2004 Words9 Pages
Literary Realism in Editha After World War I, American people and the authors among them were disillusioned by the effects that war had on their society. America required a literature that would expound what had happened and what was happening to their society. The realistic movement of the late 19th century saw authors accurately depict life and its problems. This realistic movement evolved because of many changes and transitions in American culture. In the late 1800's, the United States was experiencing swift growth and change because of a changing economy, society, and culture. The increase of immigrants into America was one of the reasons. Realists endeavored to give a comprehensive picture of modern life by presenting the entire picture. The true definition of literary realism as defined by Encyclopedia Britannica is an approach that attempts to describe life without idealization or romantic subjectivity. Although realism is not limited to any one-century or group of writers, it is most often associated with the literary movement in 19th-century France, specifically with the French novelists Flaubert and Balzac. George Eliot introduced realism into England, and William Dean Howells introduced it into the United States. Realism has been chiefly concerned with the commonplaces of everyday life among the middle and lower classes, where character is a product of social factors and environment is the integral element in the dramatic complications. In relation to that, William Dean Howells, while opposing idealization, made his comic criticisms of society. He did this by comparing and contrasting American culture with those of other countries. He did not try to give one view of life but instead attempted to show the different classes, manners, and stratification of life in America. He believed that novels should present life as it is, not as it might be. Howells was a champion of realism in American literature. He has written more than one hundred books. Among them is; The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), A Modern Instance (1882), A Boy's Town (1890) and My Year in a Log Cabin (1893). Throughout his writings, Howells attempts to make his characters real with faults and fears as are commonly found in reality. Howells utilizes literary realism in his short story Editha to communicate the reality of war and to portray the romanticism Americans had created around the concept of war.

More about Literary Realism in Editha

Open Document