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
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
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
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
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