The Literature of the Late Nineteenth Century 1865-1900

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  • The Literature of the Late Nineteenth Century1865-1900

  • Cost of the Civil War

    The Human Cost1,094,543 CasualtiesThe North lost one out of ten110,100 in battle224,580 to disease

  • The South lost one out of four94,000 in battle64,000 to disease

    Two percent of US population died in the Civil War, with only WWII claiming more lives

    Economic CostEstimated at 6.6 billion, which would be 165 billion today

  • The Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment had abolished slavery

    The industrial North had defeated the agrarian South

    Social order grew based on mass labor and mass consumption;Steam power replaced water powerMachines replaced hand labor

    The Industrial Revolution had begun

  • Migration from rural to urban areas

    Independent, skilled workers replaced by semi-skilled laborers

    Large corporations were established, devaluing the personal relationship between management and workers or company and customers.

  • Political power shifted to the laboring classes

    Political patronage and graft caused civic corruption

    The power of the federal government expanded during the Civil WarNational conscription laws;Federal income taxes levied;Paper money backed by federal government rather than individual states issued.

  • Coast-to-coast communicationPony Express (1860)10 daysTelegraph (1861)just seconds to communicate across countryTransatlantic telegraph cable (1866) allowed instant communicate with Europe

  • Telephone patented (1867)By 1900, 1.3 million telephones in U.S.

    Coast-to-coast travelTranscontinental Railroad (1869)By 1889, coast-to-coast travel4 days

  • Alexander Graham Bell

  • Samuel Morse

  • Increased commercial development

    Farm and ranching products available nation wide

    National retail organizations undersold local shop keepers

  • Richard Sears and Montgomery WardsReady-made goods and clothes less expensive than local, hand-produced wares

    Time zones reduced from 56 to 4 in 1883

  • Migration westward expanded the U.S. from the Atlantic to the PacificNative American populations displaced and subjugated;

    Growth of IndustrySteelmaking, the nations dominant industryAlternating electrical current (1886)American petroleum industry begins

  • Growth of populationTotal population doubled from 1870 to 1890National income quadrupledGap between rich and poor widens

  • Reconstruction in the South ends by 1877Poll taxes and literacy tests disqualified black votersSeparate and unequal schools createdWhite supremacy re-established

  • Womens rights increaseMore women entered the workforce

    All female colleges were formed: Vassar, Wellesley and Smith

    Women do not gain the right to vote until 1922

  • Foreign immigration increases

    By 1910, one-third of largest cities foreign-born

    Need for public education increases

    The Morrill Act of 1862land given to states for establishment of land-grant universities

  • Changes in thinking brought about by changes in society

    Specifically.SciencePsychologyPhilosophyIntellectual Changes

  • Published The Origin of Species Hypothesized that man is the product of evolution

    Man is special not because God created him in His image but because man had successfully adapted to changing environmental conditions

    and had passed on his survival-making characteristics to his progeny.

  • Believed that the mind could be understood in terms of repressed urges, usually sexual

    Theorized an unconscious system of ideas that governs human reactions and response

    Id, Ego, and Super-ego

  • Explained human history as the result of class struggles

    Human identity is defined by social context

    It is human nature to transform nature.

  • Truth is tested by its usefulness or practical consequences

    Truth is a commodity accessible on the surface of things

    Truth is perceptible to the senses and verifiable through experience

    Permanent truths exist apart from the material worldthe mind of God, Platos ideal forms

    William James

  • Realismfirst begun as the local color movement


  • Begins in France, as realisme, a literary doctrine calling for reality and truth in the depiction of ordinary life.

  • Grounded in the belief that there is an objective reality which can be portrayed with truth and accuracy as the goal

  • The writer does not select facts in accord with preconceived ideals, but rather sets down observations impartially and objectively.

  • These authors sought to portray life as they saw it, insisting that the ordinary and local were just as suitable for art as the sublime.Nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material. William Dean Howells

  • Definition of Local Color:Literature that focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features particular to a specific region that exploits the speech, dress, mannerisms, and habits of that specific region .

  • Settingoften remote and usually integral to the story

    Charactersmore concerned with the character of the region than an individualquaint, stereotypical

  • Narrator-- an educated observer from the world beyond whos often deceived

    Emphasis on dialect

    Use of stock characters

  • Dislike of change, nostalgia for an always-past Golden Age

    Triumphant trickster or trickster tricked

    Tall tale-tradition, conflicts described humorously, larger than life

  • Subject matterordinary people and events

    PurposeVerisimilitude, the truthful representation of life

    Point of Viewomniscient and objective

  • Charactersmiddle class, psychological realism

    Plot de-emphasized

    Focus on everyday lifeComplex ethical choices often the subjectEvents are made to seem the inevitable result of characters choices

  • Humans control their destiniescharacters act on their environment rather than simply reacting to it.

    Slice-of-life techniqueoften ends without traditional formal closure, leaving much untold to suggest mans limited ability to make sense of his life.

  • Whose reality is portrayed?Those in power, usually male, white and privileged

    Whose reality is marginalized and ignored?Those without power: women, people of color, people of lower economic means

  • Definition: A literature that depicts social problems and views humans as victims of larger biological, psychological and social and economic forces.

    Scientific determinismPsychological determinismHistorical determinism

  • Man has no direct control over who or what he is. His fate is determined by outside forces that can be discovered through scientific inquiry

  • Humans respond to environmental forces and internal stresses and drives, none of which can be fully controlled or understood

    People are driven by fundamental urges like fear, hunger, sex

    The world is a competitive jungle

  • Man is a victim of his inner and subconscious self (Freud).

  • Historical or socio-economic determinism (Marx): the world is a battleground of economic and social forces;

  • Presentation is objective and detached

    Subject matterraw and unpleasant experiences which reduce people to degrading circumstances in order to survive

  • Setting commonplace and un-heroic

    Novelist discovers qualities in lower class characters usually associated with heroes

    Suggestion that life on lowest levels is more complicated

  • Man is fundamentally an animal, without free will

    Pessimistic view of human capabilitieslife is a trap

  • Governed by determinismExternal and internal forces, environment or heredity control behaviorCharacters have compensating humanistic values which affirm lifeStruggle for life becomes heroic and affirms human dignity