英美文学通论
美国文学讲义4
发布时间: 2008-05-26   浏览次数: 280

Chapter 3 The Age of Realism

  I. Background: From Romanticism to Realism

  1.the three conflicts that reached breaking point in this period

  (1industrialism vs. agrarian

  (2culturely-measured east vs. newly-developed west

  (3plantation gentility vs. commercial gentility

  2.1880s urbanization: from free competition to monopoly capitalism

  3.the closing of American frontier

  II. Characteristics

  1.truthful description of life

  2.typical character under typical circumstance

  3.objective rather than idealized, close observation and investigation of life

  ※Realistic writers are like scientists.§

  4.open-ending:

  Life is complex and cannot be fully understood. It leaves much room for readers to think by themselves.

  5.concerned with social and psychological problems, revealing the frustrations of characters in an environment of sordidness and depravity

  III.    Three Giants in Realistic Period

  1.William Dean Howells  ※Dean of American Realism§

  (1Realistic principles

  a. Realism is ※fidelity to experience and probability of motive§.

  b. The aim is ※talk of some ordinary traits of American life§.

  c. Man in his natural and unaffected dullness was the object of Howellss fictional representation.

  d. Realism is by no means mere photographic pictures of externals but includes a central concern with ※motives§ and psychological conflicts.

  e. He condemns novels of sentimentality and morbid self-sacrifice, and avoids such themes as illicit love.

  f.  Authors should minimize plot and the artificial ordering of the sense of something ※desultory, unfinished, imperfect§.

  g. Characters should have solidity of specification and be real.

  h. Interpreting sympathetically the ※common feelings of commonplace people§ was best suited as a technique to express the spirit of America.

  i.He urged writers to winnow tradition and write in keeping with current humanitarian ideals.

  j.Truth is the highest beauty, but it includes the view that morality penetrates all things.

  k. With regard to literary criticism, Howells felt that the literary critic should not try to impose arbitrary or subjective evaluations on books but should follow the detached scientist in accurate description, interpretation, and classification.

  (2Works

  a. The Rise of Silas Lapham

  b. A Chance Acquaintance

  c. A Modern Instance

  (3Features of His Works

  a. Optimistic tone

  b. Moral development/ethics

  c. Lacking of psychological depth

  2.Henry James

  (1Life

  (2Literary career: three stages

  a. 1865~1882: international theme

  l   The American

  l   Daisy Miller

  l   The Portrait of a Lady

  b. 1882~1895: inter-personal relationships and some plays

  l   Daisy Miller play

  c. 1895~1900: novellas and tales dealing with childhood and adolescence, then back to international theme

  l   The Turn of the Screw

  l   When Maisie Knew

  l   The Ambassadors

  l   The Wings of the Dove

  l   The Golden Bowl

  (3Aesthetic ideas

  a. The aim of novel: represent life

  b. Common, even ugly side of life

  c. Social function of art

  d. Avoiding omniscient point of view

  (4Point of view

  a. Psychological analysis, forefather of stream of consciousness

  b. Psychological realism

  c. Highly-refined language

  (5Style  ※stylist§

  a. Language: highly-refined, polished, insightful, accurate

  b. Vocabulary: large

  c. Construction: complicated, intricate

  3.Mark Twain see next section

  Local Colorism 1860s, 1870s~1890s

  I. Appearance

  1.uneven development in economy in America

  2.culture: flourishing of frontier literature, humourists

  3.magazines appeared to let writer publish their works

  II. What is ※Local Colour§?

  Tasks of local colourists: to write or present local characters of their regions in truthful depiction distinguished from others, usually a very small part of the world.

  Regional literature similar, but larger in world

  lGarland, Harte  the west

  lEggleston  Indiana

  lMrs Stowe

  lJewett  Maine

  lChopin  Louisiana

  III.    Mark Twain  Mississippi

  1.life

  2.works

  (1The Gilded Age

  (2※the two advantages§

  (3Life on the Mississippi

  (4A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court

  (5The Man That Corrupted Hardleybug

  3.style

  (1colloquial language, vernacular language, dialects

  (2local colour

  (3syntactic feature: sentences are simple, brief, sometimes ungrammatical

  (4humour

  (5tall tales highly exaggerated

  (6social criticism satire on the different ugly things in society

  IV.     Comparison of the three ※giants§ of American Realism

  1.Theme

  Howells  middle class

  James  upper class

  Twain  lower class

  2.Technique

  Howells  smiling/genteel realism

  James  psychological realism

  Twain  local colourism and colloquialism