Emergence of Realism in Nineteenth Century
During the mid-to-late 19th century, Realism, an effective literary and artistic
movement was on the rise. There were many factors contributing to the strong
emergence of Realism, a reaction against romanticism, an interest in scientific method,
the systematizing of the study of documentary history, and the influence of rational
philosophy (Chase). In Realism the details along with cause and effect of
environment and of circumstance, become the grounds for exploration of human values
and fate, which in turn places the emphasis on the individual and their social
In definition Realism is, "the creation of the effect of the representation of the concrete, historical nature of human life" (Longman). As an artistic movement it is the product and expression of the dominant mood of its time. It is considered a pervasive rationalistic epistemology that turned its back on the fantasies of Romanticism and was shaped instead by the impact of the political and social changes as well as the scientific and industrial advances of the day (Longman). Realism is considered to be the representation of the common life during a time when man was seen as a secular being living amongst a world not transformed or informed by spiritual presence, and what was real was what could be demonstrated physically. Also Realism represented during an age
when individual rights had been derived with a consequent focus on self as the object of moral and political concern and importance.
Many saw realism as being faithful to experiences of life lived in a physical and social environment. Realism's strongest argument was that it was a representation of life as it is lived. It brings one closer to the physical and intimate existence and is therefore less likely to be distorted and influenced by ideology. Realism was concerned with the way life was truly being lived and what is actually happening at a given moment. "Realists center their attention to a remarkable degree on the immediate, the here and now, the specific action, and the verifiable consequence" (Chase).
Realism at a basic level was grounded in the consistent reporting of every facet of daily life. According to William Dean Howells, "Realism is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material" (Carter 36). The public's preference for reading realism parallels changes that occurred during the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century. Some changes and developments brought about by realism were, "growth of investigative journalism; rise of muckrakers; and the establishment of a fascinations with the camera as a means of capturing the realities of a single...