Realism in Literature

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The twentieth century introduced a new group of writers and artists who brought something new to the ever evolving style of realism. They took inspiration from other authors and painters, and this is evident in their works, but they still managed to put their own unique spin on it. William Dean Howells, George Bellows, Robert Henri, and Kurt Vonnegut are four notable realists whose works are still discussed today.
William Dean Howells was an American novelist whose writing changed course to realism in his fifties with Tolstoy as his inspiration. His general idea behind writing was that “everything real in human nature is valuable, and that nothing unreal is valuable except by way of sportive interlude” (“William Dean Howells”). He had a few romantic qualities that were shown in The Shadow of a Dream, but he also managed to write romance without leaving a mocking after-taste, as shown in April Hopes.
George Wesley Bellows was an American painter who drew everyday life and normal houses by choice. He often talked about how he found the expression of life more interesting than art, so many of his paintings showed things like children in the streets or crowds of people. One of his greatest works was Edith Cavell, which depicted the terrors of war. Even though this is considered by many to be his best painting, Joseph Pennell criticized it rather harshly. Regardless of this, though, he was quoted saying, “I am sick of American buildings like Greek temples and of rich men building Italian homes” (“George Wesley Bellows”). Robert Henri was also an American painter of the twentieth century. When he began teaching at the Women’s School of Design he joined a group of realists, and after this began teaching. He became known for putting “em...

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