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Literary Movements

The latter half of the 19th century was a time of enormous change in American society. Such changes includes the rebuilding of the South after the Civil War, the adjustment to the end of slavery, the increasing growth of urbanism and industrialism, and the advent of new technologies. Also impacting the era were new philosophies about religion, philosophy, and individuals, such as social Darwinism and FreudÆs theories of the human psyche. Such changes also had a significant impact on the artists of the era, particularly those who wrote literature. Three movements in literature occurred almost simultaneously during the second half of the 19th century: naturalism, realism and local color/regionalism.

While there are many similarities among each of these literary movements or styles, they are quite distinct in a number of ways. These distinctions most often include technique, character, setting, themes, and other characteristics. This analysis will discuss each of these literary movements in order to demonstrate these distinctions in the works of authors like Stephen Crane, Jack London, Henry James, Kate Chopin, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. A conclusion will address why such literary movements are significant in terms of understanding history and human beings in general.

Naturalism in American literature is a movement that involves the application of scientific principles of ôobjectivity and detachmentö to its analysis of human beings, (Naturalism 2003). Naturalism views individuals in a clinical manner, believing that they are objects that should be observed and rendered in literature impartially. This is to say there should be no moralizing about human beings when trying to study and understand the forces that underlie human motivation and action. Authors like Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Stephen Crane, Jack London and others are considered founders of the movement. Such literature typically views humans as being ...

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Literary Movements. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:55, December 02, 2020, from