Definition of Realism: The most general aim of realism was to offer a truthful, accurate, and objective representation of the real world, both the external world and the human self.
Definition of Naturalism: Naturalism can be viewed as a more extreme form of realism.
Definition of Naturalism: Naturalism explicitly endeavors to emulate the methods of the physical sciences, drawing heavily on the principles of causality, determinism, explan ation, and experimentation.
Main Characteristics:1. the use of descriptive and evocative details.2. avoidance of what was fantastical, imaginary, and mythical3. adhering to the requirements of probability, and excluding events which were impossible or improbable4. inclusion of characters and incidents from all social strata, dealing not merely with rulers and nobility
Main Characteristics:5. focusing on the present and choosing topics from contemporary life rather than longing for some idealized past6. emphasizing the social rather than the individual (or seeing the individual as a social being)7. refraining from the use of elevated language, in favor of more colloquial idioms and everyday speech, as well as directness and simplicity of expression
George Eliot (1819–1880) One of the most succinct yet poignant statements of realism was made by the major Victorian novelist George Eliot. Her novels include The Mill on the Floss (1860).
George Eliot (1819–1880) The principles of her realism:1. the artistic pursuit of truth, a truth based on direct experience of the world.2. experience is complex and must not be reduced to expression in preconceived categories; the representation of experience must be authentic, refusing to pander to current prejudices and popular taste.3. moral basis: we should accept people in their actual, imperfect, state, rather than holding them up to impossible ideals.4. her view of beauty: beauty lies in no secret of proportion, but in the secret of deep human sympathy
George Eliot (1819–1880) Eliot cleverly presents her realism not merely as pertaining to literary technique but as encompassing an entire way of looking at the world: the pursuit of truth, the reliance on one’s own experience, the acceptance of people as they are, the perception of beauty in ordinary things were all aspects of this vision; and they were all underlain by a religious disposition which itself was humane and based on human sympathy rather than endless doctrine and the imposition of unrealistic ideals.
Émile Zola (1840–1902) Zola was the leading figure of French naturalism.
Émile Zola (1840–1902) Perhaps more than any other major literary figure, Émile Zola registered in his fiction and his critical theory the rising tide of scientific advance in the later nineteenth century.
Émile Zola (1840–1902) Zola’s essay The Experimental Novel (1880) attempted a justification of his own novelistic practice, and became the seminal manifesto of naturalism
Henry James (1843–1916) Though Henry James was an American novelist, the experience underlying James’ creative and critical work was international in scope.
Henry James (1843–1916) It is in his essay “The Art of Fiction” (1884) that James most succinctly expressed his critical principles as well as a justification of his novelistic endeavor.
Henry James (1843–1916) James’ central thesis is that the novel must be free, its freedom is first worked out in relation to the kind of novelistic realism on which James insists: “The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life . . . as the picture is reality, so the novel is history” (166–167). In attempting to represent life, the novelist’s task is analogous with that of the painter; and in searching for truth, the novelistic art is analogous with philosophy as well as history. This “double analogy,” says James, “is a magnificent heritage” (167).