What Was the Key Characteristic in the Realist Literary Movement
Realism was a literary movement that emerged in the mid-19th century as a reaction against romanticism and its idealized, exaggerated, or sentimental portrayal of life. Realism aimed to represent subject matter truthfully, objectively, and accurately, without embellishment or interpretation. Realism focused on the everyday lives and experiences of ordinary people, especially those from the middle or lower classes, and explored the social realities and problems of their time. Realism also used the language and dialects of common speech, rather than poetic or literary language.
The key characteristic of realism was its adherence to the principle of verisimilitude, or the appearance of being true or real. Realist writers sought to create a faithful and detailed representation of reality, based on careful observation, research, and documentation. They avoided fantastical, supernatural, or improbable elements, as well as moral judgments or emotional appeals. They also tried to capture the complexity and diversity of human nature and society, without simplifying or idealizing them.
Realism originated in France with writers such as Gustave Flaubert, who wrote Madame Bovary (1856), a novel about a dissatisfied provincial woman who has adulterous affairs and ends up committing suicide[^2^]. Flaubert was influenced by Stendhal, who is considered one of the founders of realism with his novels The Red and the Black (1830) and The Charterhouse of Parma (1839), which depict the political and social turmoil of post-Napoleonic France[^2^]. Other notable French realists include Emile Zola, who wrote a series of novels called The Rougon-Macquart (1871-1893), which expose the corruption and misery of different segments of society under the Second Empire[^2^]. Alexandre Dumas fils also contributed to realism with his novel The Lady of the Camellias (1848), which tells the tragic story of a courtesan who dies of tuberculosis[^3^].
Realism spread to other countries and regions, such as Russia, England, America, Scandinavia, and Latin America. Some of the most influential realist writers from these areas include Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Mark Twain, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Henrik Ibsen, Gustave Courbet, Edvard Munch, HonorÃ de Balzac and JosÃ MarÃa EÃa de QueirÃs. These writers explored various themes and topics related to realism, such as war and peace, crime and punishment, social class and mobility, marriage and family, religion and morality, urbanization and industrialization, immigration and nationalism, realism and art[^1^] [^4^].
Realism was a significant literary movement that changed the way literature was perceived and produced. It challenged the conventions and expectations of romanticism and introduced a new mode of expression that reflected the realities and complexities of modern life. Realism also influenced other literary movements and genres that followed it, such as naturalism, regionalism, impressionism, modernism, and postmodernism. aa16f39245