America needed a literature that would explain what had happened and what was happening to their society. American writers turned to what is now known as modernism.
The Modern Short Story: A Critical Survey, pp. If at times it walked badly it could at least be said to be walking by itself; if it did not walk far it could also be said that vast continents are not explored in a day.
It needs little perception to note the main defects of the American short story from Poe to Crane. It was often raw, facile, journalistic, prosy, cheap; it was unexperimental, and, except in rare instances, unpoetical.
It was all these things, and much more; so that beside the European not English short story of the same day it appears to suffer from one huge and common defect. In Europe, on the other hand, culture rose readily and naturally to the top of artistic life like so much cream. By contrast with the saloon-bar back-cloths of Bret Harte, the Bowery of Crane, the embittered etchings of Bierce, the literary life and output of Europe appeared richly civilized, smooth, and settled.
In America the writers of the day appear to suffer from a certain common, and quite natural, bewilderment; half their continent is undeveloped, much unexplored; they have not found their feet, and they give the natural impression of needing not only a pen but a compass in their hands.
The literature of that America is amateurish, unorganized, still in its working clothes; that of Europe is civilized, centralized, well dressed. Under these circumstances it would be strange if Europe had not something to offer, in the short-story as well as in literature generally, that America did not and could not possess.
It would be surprising indeed if it had not produced at least one short-story writer greater than Poe or O.
It did in fact produce several; but from many distinguished names two stand out as the pillars of the entire structure of the modern short story: Guy de Maupassant, born inand Anton Pavlovitch Tchehov, born ten years later. During recent years it has become the fashion to divide both exponents and devotees of the short story into two camps, Maupassant fans on the one side, Tchehovites on the other.
To some the Maupassant method of story-telling is the method par excellence; to others there is nothing like Tchehov. This sort of faction even found an exponent in Mr. Somerset Maugham, who devoted a large part of a preface to extolling Maupassant at the expense of Tchehov, for no other reason apparently than that he had found in Maupassant a more natural model and master.
Odd as it may seem to the adherent of these two schools, there are many readers, as well as writers, by whom Tchehov and Maupassant are held in equal affection and esteem.
Among these I like to number myself. For me Tchehov has had many lessons; but it is significant to note that I learned none of them until I had learned others from Maupassant.
I recall a period when both were held for hours under the microscope; and in consequence I have never had any sympathy with the mind that is enthusiastic for one but impatient of the other. Much of their achievement and life bears an astonishing similarity; the force of their influence, almost equally powerful, has extended farther than that of any other two short-story writers in the world.
Both were popular in their lifetime; both were held in sedate horror by what are known as decent people. Tchehov, they said, would die in a ditch, and it is notable that Maupassant still holds a lurid attraction for the ill-balanced.
The differences of Tchehov and Maupassant have therefore, I think, been over-laboured, and in no point so much as that of technique.
Their real point of difference is indeed fundamental, and arises directly not from what they did, but from what they were.
For in the final analysis it is not the writer that is important, but the man; not the technician but the character. The personality behind the technician, imposing itself upon the shaping of every technical gesture and yet itself elusive of analysis, is the thing for which there exists no abiding or common formula.
There is no sort of prescription which, however remorselessly followed, will produce a preconceived personality. Thus Tchehov and Maupassant, so alike in many things, are fundamentally worlds apart.
Almost each point of similarity, indeed, throws into relief a corresponding point of difference. Both, for example, sprang from peasant stock; both excelled in the delineation of peasant types.
Again, one of their favourite themes was the crushing or exploitation of a kindly, innocent man by a woman of strong and remorseless personality; in Maupassant the woman would be relentlessly drawn, sharp and heartless as glass; in Tchehov the woman would be seen indirectly through the eyes of a secondary, softer personality, perhaps the man himself.
Similarly both liked to portray a certain type of weak, stupid, thoughtless woman, a sort of yes-woman who can unwittingly impose tragedy or happiness on others.Influence of Realism on Literature, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
Realism focused more on the reality of life and while naturalism also had the same features, it was different from realism because it had an almost fatalistic view of life. The Analysis and Comparison of Realism and Romanticism in Europe St.
John Fisher College Graduate International Studies Program Independent Study—Dr. Baronov A Current Study and Comparison of Realism and Romanticism By Shreya Thakar December The Analysis and Comparison of Realism and Romanticism in Europe Thakar 2. English Literature; English Literature Essays.
Search here to find a specific article or browse from the list below: Hamlet and Sure Thing | Analysis of Timing and Language. Women in Early Twentieth Century Women’s Literature. The following entry presents criticism on the representation of realism in world short fiction literature.
Viewed as a reaction to romanticism, literary realism is written from an objective. Well, Realism in American literature, which lasted from , was a reaction to and a rejection of Romanticism.
In order to really understand the weight of this last statement, it's time to.