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Розвиток реалістичних ідей в американській літературі 19 ст.

Realism 1861- 1914 (American Realism 1865-1890):An artistic movement begun in 19th century France. Artists and writers strove for detailed realistic and factual description. They tried to represent events and social conditions as they actually are, without idealization.

This form of literature believes in fidelity to actuality in its representation. Realism is about recreating life in literature. Realism arose as an opposing idea to Idealism and Nominalism. Idealism is the approach to literature of writing about everything in its ideal from. Nominalism believes that ideas are only names and have no practical application. Realism focused on the truthful treatment of the common, average, everyday life. Realism focuses on the immediate, the here and now, the specific actions and their verifiable consequences. Realism seeks a one-to-one relationship between representation and the subject. This form is also known as mimesis. Realists are concerned with the effect of the work on their reader and the reader's life, a pragmatic view. Pragmatism requires the reading of a work to have some verifiable outcome for the reader that will lead to a better life for the reader. This lends an ethical tendency to Realism while focusing on common actions and minor catastrophes of middle class society.

Realism aims to interpret the actualities of any aspect of life, free from subjective prejudice, idealism, or romantic color. It is in direct opposition to concerns of the unusual, the basis of Romanticism. Stresses the real over the fantastic. Seeks to treat the commonplace truthfully and used characters from everyday life. This emphasis was brought on by societal changes such as the aftermath of the Civil War in the United States and the emergence of Darwin's Theory of Evolution and its effect upon biblical interpretation.


Towards the middle of the 19th century the romantic trend in American literature gave way to new, realistic forms. Critical re­alism as a trend in American literature developed after the Civil War. The critical realistic literature differed greatly from that of the previous writers such as Irving, Cooper and Longfellow.

The romanticists wrote their stories about ideal individuals through which they showed their emotions. The realists under­stood that the people should be shown as a whole. They saw man on the background of social conflicts of the day and explained human feelings in relation to this background.

Among the most outstanding American realists in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century were Mark Twain, O. Henry and Jack London.

Mark Twain depicted common American people with great sympathy and humour. At the same time he cruelly condemned hypocrisy, bigotry and greed.

Jack London and O. Henry created typical characters of the American common people — farmers, workers, intellectuals. They revealed the truth of American life in their works.

American critical realism developed in contact with European realism. The works of Balzac [ 'Ьгекэк], Gogol, Turgenev and Tol­stoy influenced it greatly. But American realism enriched world re­alism by introducing such problems as social injustice and Negro and Indian questions. American writers using the methods of criti­cal realism created great works of art.

| Top | Principles Of Realism

1. Insistence upon and defense of "the experienced commonplace".

2. Character more important than plot.

3. Attack upon romanticism and romantic writers.

4. Emphasis upon morality often self-realized and upon an examination of idealism.

5. Concept of realism as a realization of democracy.

Identifying Characteristics Of Realistic Writing

1. The philosophy of Realism is known as "descendental" or non-transcendental. The purpose of writing is to instruct and to entertain. Realists were pragmatic, relativistic, democratic, and experimental.

2. The subject matter of Realism is drawn from "our experience," - it treated the common, the average, the non-extreme, the representative, the probable.

3. The morality of Realism is intrinsic, integral, relativistic - relations between people and society are explored.

4. The style of Realism is the vehicle which carries realistic philosophy, subject matter, and morality. Emphasis is placed upon scenic presentation, de-emphasizing authorial comment and evaluation. There is an objection towards the omniscient point of view.

Realistic Complexity And Multiplicity

Complexity refers to the interwoven, entangled density of experience; multiplicity indicates the simultaneous existence of different levels of reality or of many truths, equally "true" from some point of view.

Realistic Characterization

There is the belief among the Realists that humans control their destinies; characters act on their environment rather than simply reacting to it. Character is superior to circumstance.

The Use Of Symbolism And Imagery

The Realists generally reject the kind of symbolism suggested by Emerson when he said "Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact." Their use of symbolism is controlled and limited; they depend more on the use of images.

Realistic Techniques

1. Settings thoroughly familiar to the writer

2. Plots emphasizing the norm of daily experience

3. Ordinary characters, studied in depth

4. Complete authorial objectivity

5. Responsible morality; a world truly reported



Загальна характеристика літературного процесу Америки 20 ст.

The radical economic and social changes in American life dur­ing the twenties and thirties marked a fruitful time for critical realists. The writers reflected the new realities of American life. New themes, plots and heroes appeared in the novels and stories of the realistic writers.

Together with the books, the only purpose of which was to entertain the reader and try to avoid social problems, books ap­peared the purpose of which was to show the necessity of chang­ing the social order (for example Theodore Dreiser).

The fiction of the critical realists is distinguished by a great interest in social conflicts, attacks on accepted values and criti­cism of the American way of life.

Among the most outstanding American realists who revealed in his works the truth of American life, showed the tragic fate of young Americans after World War I, reflected the struggle with fascism, exposed industrial conditions and spoke out warmly in defence of labour and depicted the spiritual emptiness of Ameri­can Society were Theodore Dreiser, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Willliam Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway

The USA ended World War II as the most powerful capitalist country. The post-war period and the onset of the Cold War were in 1950s and 1960s. This was the period of political hostility between America and Russia. *•

The atmosphere of evil caused caution. The national mood was nervous and aggressive. It was the era of the so-called "silent generation", a generation who had stopped believing in humanist ideas. Some philosophers concluded that the Americans were becoming a nation of conformists1 with no fixed standards or beliefs.

Among the first to protest again the atmosphere of conformity2 were the writers of Beat Generation3.

The best-known figure of the "Beat" writers in prose was Jack Kerouac ['фаек 'кегэшк]. The writer who tried to explore the psy- chology of youth was Jerome David Salinger, whose novel Catcher in the Rye (1951) was devoted to the youth problem in the post­war period.

Some other well-known American contemporary writers such as John Updike and Ken Kesey examined various aspects of American life.

American post-war literature managed to present a many-sided picture of the changing American reality.


Американська драма 20 ст.

The rise of American drama

Although the United States' theatrical tradition can be traced back to the arrival of Lewis Hallam's troupe in the mid-18th century and was very active in the 19th century, as seen by the popularity of minstrel shows and of adaptations of Uncle Tom's Cabin, American drama attained international status only in the 1920s and 1930s, with the works of Eugene O'Neill, who won four Pulitzer Prizes and the Nobel Prize.

In the middle of the 20th century, American drama was dominated by the work of playwrights Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, as well as by the maturation of the American musical, which had found a way to integrate script, music and dance in such works as Oklahoma! and West Side Story. Later American playwrights of importance include Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, David Mamet, August Wilson and Tony Kushner.

The early years of the 20th century, before World War I, continued to see realism as the main development in drama. But starting around 1900, there was a revival of poetic drama in the States, corresponding to a similar revival in Europe (e.g. Yeats, Maeterlinck and Hauptmann). The most notable example of this trend was the "Biblical trilogy" of William Vaughn Moody, which also illustrate the rise of religious-themed drama during the same years, as seen in the 1899 production of Ben-Hur and two 1901 adaptations of Quo Vadis. Moody, however, is best known for two prose plays, The Great Divide (1906, later adapted into three film versions) and The Faith Healer (1909), which together point the way to modern American drama in their emphasis on the emotional conflicts that lie at the heart of contemporary social conflicts. Other key playwrights from this period (in addition to continued work by Howells and Fitch) include Edward Sheldon, Charles Rann Kennedy and one of the most successful women playwrights in American drama, Rachel Crothers, whose interest in women's issues can be seen in such plays as He and She (1911).[4]

During the period between the World Wars, American drama came to maturity, thanks in large part to the works of Eugene O'Neill and of the Provincetown Players. O'Neill's experiments with theatrical form and his combination of Naturalist and Expressionist techniques inspired other playwrights to use greater freedom in their works, whether expanding the techniques of Realism, as in Susan Glaspell's Trifles, or borrowing more heavily from German Expressionism (e.g., Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine), Other distinct movements during this period include folk-drama/regionalism (Paul Green's Pulitzer-winning In Abraham's Bosom), "pageant" drama (Green's The Lost Colony, about the mysterious Roanoke Colony), and even a return to poetic drama (Maxwell Anderson's Winterset). At the same time, the economic crisis of the Great Depression led to the growth of protest drama, as seen in the Federal Theatre Project's Living Newspaper productions and in the works of Clifford Odets (e.g., Waiting for Lefty) and of moralist drama, as in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes and The Children's Hour. Other key figures of this era include George S. Kaufman, George Kelly, Langston Hughes, S. N. Behrman, Sidney Howard, Robert E. Sherwood, and a set of playwrights who followed O'Neill's path of philosophical searching, Philip Barry, Thornton Wilder (Our Town) and William Saroyan (The Time of Your Life). Theatre criticism kept pace with the drama, such as in the work of George Jean Nathan and in the numerous books and journals on American theater that were published during this time.[4]

The stature that American drama had achieved between the Wars was cemented during the post-World War II generation, with the final works of O'Neill and his generation being joined by such towering figures as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, as well as by the maturation of the musical theatre form. Other key dramatists include William Inge, Arthur Laurents and Paddy Chayefsky in the 1950s, the avant garde movement of Jack Richardson, Arthur Kopit, Jack Gelber and Edward Albee the 1960s, and the maturation of black drama through Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin and Amiri Baraka. In the musical theatre, important figures include Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, Frank Loesser, Jule Styne, Jerry Bock, Meredith Willson and Stephen Sondheim.[4]

The period beginning in the mid-1960s, with the passing of Civil Rights legislation and its repercussions, came the rise of an "agenda" theatre comparable to that of the 1930s. Many of the major playwrights from the mid-century continued to produce new works, but were joined by names like Sam Shepard, Neil Simon, Romulus Linney, David Rabe, Lanford Wilson, David Mamet, and John Guare. Many important dramatists were women, including Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, Wendy Wasserstein, Megan Terry, Paula Vogel and María Irene Fornés. The growth of ethnic pride movements led to more success by dramatists from racial minorities, such as black playwrights Douglas Turner Ward, Adrienne Kennedy, Ed Bullins, Charles Fuller, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ntozake Shange, George C. Wolfe and August Wilson, who created a dramatic history of United States with his cycle of plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle, one for each decade of the 20th century. Asian American theatre is represented in the early 1970s by Frank Chin and achieved international success with David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly. Latino theatre grew from the local activist performances of Luis Valdez's Chicano-focused Teatro Campesino to his more formal plays, such as Zoot Suit, and later to the award winning work of Cuban Americans Fornés (multiple Obies) and her student Nilo Cruz (Pulitzer), to Puerto Rican playwrights José Rivera and Miguel Piñero, and to the Tony Award winning musical about Dominicans in New York City, In the Heights. Finally, the rise of the gay rights movement and of the AIDS crisis led to a number of important gay and lesbian dramatists, including Christopher Durang, Holly Hughes, Karen Malpede, Terrence McNally, Larry Kramer, Tony Kushner, whose Angels in America won the Tony Award two years in a row, and composer-playwright Jonathan Larson, whose musical Rent ran for over twelve years.


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