The period between the Civil War (1861-1865) and the First World War (1914-1918) witnessed tremendous changes in the
The champion of Realism in the
HENRY JAMES (1843-1916) practiced a different kind of realism. He was an observer of the mind rather than a recorder of the times. So, he was more interested in psychological realism and tried to show the process of thought that his brother William termed ‘stream of consciousness’. He also wrote about the difficulty of reflecting real life through literature (the importance of appearances and perception, the relationships between fact and fiction). In this aspect, he was a precursor of modernism. He spent most of his life in
EDITH WHARTON (1862-1937) is frequently associated with James as a ‘Cosmopolitan novelist’ because she also spent a large part of her life in
Another manifestation of realism is Regionalism (also known as ‘Local Color’), a diffuse movement of writers who mixed the qualities of realism with a strong feeling for a particular area in the
Not really belonging to any of these groups, but still worth mentioning is AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914?), a journalist and short story writer best remembered by his Devil’s Dictionary (1881-1906), a collection of satirical definitions that reflect a bitter and bright mind.
MARK TWAIN (1835-1910) belongs to the regionalist tradition, and the area he described was the Mississippi River at a time when steamboats where the main means of transport in the
► See Book Presentation Guide 5.3. “Huckleberry Finn”, p. 128.
In the 1890s many realists became NATURALISTS, a movement that started in
JACK LONDON (1876-1916) was deeply influenced by
► See Classroom Activity # 17 “Twentieth-Century Short Stories”, p. 176.
Also related with Naturalism is a journalistic and political movement called the ‘Muckraking movement’, which tried to expose the political corruption, ‘dirty business’ and social injustice that was taking place in the America of the beginning of the century. Some of the journalists also wrote novels, like LINCOLN STEFFENS (1866-1936) and his Shame of the Cities (1904) or UPTON SINCLAIR (1878-1968) and his The Jungle (1906).Naturalism continued in the
 Two examples are probably enough. Peace: “a period of cheating between two periods of fighting”; Marriage: “the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all two”.