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19th century in literature

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Literature of the 19th century refers to world literature produced during the 19th century. The range of years is, for the purpose of this article, literature written from (roughly) 1799 to 1900. Many of the developments in literature in this period parallel changes in the visual arts and other aspects of 19th-century culture.

Literary realism

Literary realism is the trend, beginning with mid nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors, toward depictions of contemporary life and society as it was, or is. In the spirit of general "realism," realist authors opted for depictions of everyday and banal activities and experiences, instead of a romanticized or similarly stylized presentation.


George Eliot's novel Middlemarch stands as a great milestone in the realist tradition. It is a primary example of nineteenth-century realism's role in the naturalization of the burgeoning capitalist marketplace.

William Dean Howells was the first American author to bring a realist aesthetic to the literature of the United States. His stories of 1850s Boston upper-crust life are highly regarded among scholars of American fiction. His most popular novel, The Rise of Silas Lapham, depicts a man who falls from materialistic fortune by his own mistakes. Stephen Crane has also been recognized as illustrating important aspects of realism to American fiction in the stories Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and The Open Boat.[1][2]

Latin American Literature

Adventure novels about the gold rush in Chile in the 1850s, such as Martin Rivas by Alberto Blest Gana, and the gaucho epic poem Martin Fierro by Argentine José Hernández are among the iconic and populist 19th century literary works written in Spanish and published in Latin America.


Honoré de Balzac is often credited with pioneering a systematic realism in French literature, through the inclusion of specific detail and recurring characters.[3][4][5] Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Gustave Flaubert, and Ivan Turgenev are regarded by many critics as representing the zenith of the realist style with their unadorned prose and attention to the details of everyday life.[citation needed] In German literature, 19th-century realism developed under the name of "Poetic Realism" or "Bourgeois Realism," and major figures include Theodor Fontane, Gustav Freytag, Gottfried Keller, Wilhelm Raabe, Adalbert Stifter, and Theodor Storm.[6] Later "realist" writers included Benito Pérez Galdós, Nikolai Leskov, Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, Machado de Assis, Bolesław Prus and, in a sense, Émile Zola, whose naturalism is often regarded as an offshoot of realism.


Émile Zola, c. 1900
Émile Zola, c. 1900

By language

By year


See also


  1. ^ Realism, Writing, Disfiguration: On Thomas Eakins and Stephen Crane. M Fried. 1987. The University of Chicago Press.
  2. ^ "Crane's Experiment in Misery. Sommers, Aaron" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2014-11-29.
  3. ^ Rogers, Samuel (1953). Balzac & The Novel. New York: Octagon Books. LCCN 75-76005.
  4. ^ Stowe, William W (983). Balzac, James, and the Realistic Novel. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-06567-5.
  5. ^ C. P. Snow (1968). The Realists: Portraits of Eight Novelists. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-24438-9.
  6. ^ Becker, Sabine (2003). Bürgerlicher Realismus; Literatur und Kultur im bürgerlichen Zeitalter 1848-1900 (in German). Tübingen: Francke.; McInnes, Edward; Plumpe, Gerhard, eds. (1996). Bürgerlicher Realismus und Gründerzeit 1848-1890 (in German). Munich: Carl Hanser.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 January 2021, at 14:57
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