The Cambridge Introduction to American Literary Realism

Author: Phillip J. Barrish
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139502654
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Between the Civil War and the First World War, realism was the most prominent form of American fiction. Realist writers of the period include some of America's greatest, such as Henry James, Edith Wharton and Mark Twain, but also many lesser-known writers whose work still speaks to us today, for instance Charles Chesnutt, Zitkala-Ša and Sarah Orne Jewett. Emphasizing realism's historical context, this introduction traces the genre's relationship with powerful, often violent, social conflicts involving race, gender, class and national origin. It also examines how the realist style was created; the necessarily ambiguous relationship between realism produced on the page and reality outside the book; and the different, often contradictory, forms 'realism' took in literary works by different authors. The most accessible yet sophisticated account of American literary realism currently available, this volume will be of great value to students, teachers and readers of the American novel.

American Literary Realism Critical Theory and Intellectual Prestige 1880 1995

Author: Phillip Barrish
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139431958
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Focusing on key works of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literary realism, Phillip Barrish traces the emergence of new ways of gaining intellectual prestige - that is, new ways of gaining cultural recognition as unusually intelligent, sensitive or even wise. Through extended readings of works by Henry James, William Dean Howells, Abraham Cahan and Edith Wharton, Barrish emphasises the differences between literary realist modes of intellectual and cultural authority and those associated with the rise of the social sciences. In doing so, he greatly refines our understanding of the complex relationship between realist writing and masculinity. Barrish further argues that understanding the dynamics of intellectual status in realist literature provides new analytic purchase on intellectual prestige in recent critical theory. Here he focuses on such figures as Lionel Trilling, Paul de Man, John Guillory and Judith Butler.

Black and White Strangers

Author: Kenneth W. Warren
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226873855
Format: PDF, Docs
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In a major contribution to the study of race in American literature, Kenneth W. Warren argues that late-nineteenth-century literary realism was shaped by and in turn helped to shape post-Civil War racial politics. Taking up a variety of novelists, including Henry James and William Dean Howells, he shows that even works not directly concerned with race were instrumental in the return after reconstruction to a racially segregated society.

Utopia Cosmopolis

Author: Thomas Peyser
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822322474
Format: PDF, Docs
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A discussion of Henry James and other utopian writers (Charlotte Perkins, Gilman, Edward Bellamy and William Dean Howells) and how the commercial and territorial expansion of the U.S. prompted these utopians to imagine a universal culture standing at the

Playing the Races

Author: Henry B. Wonham
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198036647
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Why did so many of the writers who aligned themselves with the social and aesthetic aims of American literary realism rely on stock conventions of ethnic caricature in their treatment of immigrant and African-American figures? As a self-described "tool of the democratic spirit," designed to "prick the bubble of abstract types," literary realism would seem to have little in common with the aggressively dehumanizing comic imagery that began to proliferate in magazines and newspapers after the Civil War. Indeed, critics such as Alain Locke hailed realism's potential to accomplish "the artistic emancipation of the Negro," a project that logically extended to other groups systematically misrepresented in the comic imagery of the period. From the influential "Editor's Study" at Harper's Monthly, William Dean Howells touted the democratic impulse of realist imagery as an alternative to romanticism's "pride of caste," which is "averse to the mass of men" and "consents to know them only in some conventionalized and artificial guise." Yet if literary realism pursued the interests of democracy by affirming "the equality of things and the unity of men," why did its major practitioners, including Howells himself, regularly employ comic typification as a feature of their representational practice? Critics have often dismissed such apparent lapses in realist practice as blind spots, vestiges of a genteel social consciousness that failed to keep pace with realism's avowed democratic aspirations. Such explanations are useful to a point, but they overlook the fact that the age of realism in American art and letters was simultaneously the great age of ethnic caricature. Henry B. Wonham argues that these two aesthetic programs, one committed to representation of the fully humanized individual, the other invested in broad ethnic abstractions, operate less as antithetical choices than as complementary impulses, both of which receive full play within the period's most demanding literary and graphic works. The seemingly anomalous presence of gross ethnic abstractions within works by Howells, Twain, James, Wharton, and Chesnutt hints at realism's vexed and complicated relationship with the caricatured ethnic images that played a central role in late nineteenth-century American thinking about race, identity, and national culture. In illuminating that relationship, Playing the Races offers a fresh understanding of the rich literary discourse conceived at the intersection of the realist and the caricatured image.

American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract

Author: Brook Thomas
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520206472
Format: PDF, ePub
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"Moving expertly from legal analysis to social history to profoundly recontextualized literary critique, Thomas shows how writers like Twain, James, Howells, and Chopin took up contract as a model, formally and thematically evoking its possibilities and dramatizing its failures.