Realism


Realism
   Inspired by the French writers Honore de Balzac (17991850) and Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), the literary style called realism was a major force in Scandinavian letters from around 1840 through the 1880s, but particularly in the 1870s. The term denotes an attempt to describe life as it is, without idealization or the subjectivity of the romantics, against whom the realists reacted. The best early example of realism in Scandinavian literature is arguably the novel Det gåran (1839; tr. Sara Videbeck, 1919; Why Not?, 1994) by the Swedish writer Carl Jonas Love Almqvist (1793-1866), which discusses the position of women in the family and in society, one of the major topics of the realists. In Norway Camilla Collett treated a similar theme in her seminal novel Amtmandens Døttre (1854-1855; tr. The District Governor's Daughters, 1992). Also in Norway, the peasant stories of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910) anticipated the prose writings of the 1870s through their use of everyday language.
   Realism coexisted with late romantic idealism in Scandinavian literature throughout the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s, but in 1871 the Danish critic Georg Brandes (1842-1927) decisively called for a literary practice that would use literature to debate modern problems and issues. Most progressive writers in Scandinavia took up this challenge. Brandes s countryman Jens Peter Jacobsen produced two realist novels that adhered to the new program, Fru Marie Grubbe (1876; tr. Marie Grubbe, 1917) and Niels Lyhne (1880; tr. 1919, 1990), while the Swedish writer August Strindberg (1849-1912) wrote a great novel, Roda rummet (1879; tr. The Red Room, 1967), which offers a panoramic view of life in Stockholm.
   Brandes's influence was at least as great in Norwegian literature. Many of the plays of Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) from the 1870s and early 1880s come to mind, for example, Samfundets støtter (1877; tr. The Pillars of Society, 1888) and Et dukkehjem (1879; tr. A Doll's House, 1880), which deal with such favorite realist topics as corruption, the role of women, and outmoded ideas. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson vigorously advocated for Brandes's view of the purpose of literature and practiced it in his plays En fallit (1875; tr. The Bankrupt, 1914), Redaktøren (1875; tr. The Editor, 1914), and Kongen (1877; tr. The King, 1914). The novelist Jonas Lie wrote Tremasteren "Fremtiden " (1872; tr. The Barque"Future," 1879), Norway's first novel about business matters, and later Familjen paa Gilje (1883; tr. The Family at Gilje, 1920), which is set in the 1840s and debates the right of women to make their own life choices.
   Elements of realism have persisted in Scandinavian literature up to the 21st century.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Realism — Realism, Realist or Realistic may refer to:The arts*Realism (arts), the depiction of subjects as they appear in everyday life *Realism (dramatic arts), a movement towards greater fidelity to real life *Realism (visual arts), a style of painting… …   Wikipedia

  • realism — REALÍSM s.n. Mişcare, curent, atitudine în creaţia sau teoria literară şi artistică având ca principiu de bază reflectarea realităţii în datele ei esenţiale, obiective, caracteristice. ♦ Nume generic pentru concepţiile filozofice care recunosc… …   Dicționar Român

  • realism —    Realism is the view that things exist independently of the mind. There are three main types of realism that are based on that premise: (1) the view that affirms, in opposition to nominalism, that universals (and perhaps other abstract objects) …   Christian Philosophy

  • Realism — Re al*ism (r[=e] al*[i^]z m), n. [Cf. F. r[ e]alisme.] 1. (Philos.) (a) As opposed to nominalism, the doctrine that genera and species are real things or entities, existing independently of our conceptions. According to realism the Universal… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • realism — realism/anti realism …   Philosophy dictionary

  • realism — index pragmatism, truth Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 realism …   Law dictionary

  • realism — (n.) 1817, from REAL (Cf. real) (adj.) + ISM (Cf. ism); after Fr. réalisme or Ger. Realismus; from L.L. realis real. Opposed to idealism in philosophy, art, etc. In reference to scholastic doctrine of Thomas Aquinas (opposed to nominalism) it is… …   Etymology dictionary

  • realism — ► NOUN 1) the practice of accepting a situation as it is and dealing with it accordingly. 2) (in art or literature) the representation of things in a way that is accurate and true to life. 3) Philosophy the doctrine that universals or abstract… …   English terms dictionary

  • realism — [rē′ə liz΄əm] n. [< Ger realismus < ModL < ML realis,REAL1 + ismus, ISM] 1. a tendency to face facts and be practical rather than imaginative or visionary 2. the picturing in art and literature of people and things as they really appear… …   English World dictionary

  • realism — /ree euh liz euhm/, n. 1. interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc. 2. the tendency to view or represent things as they really are. 3. Fine Arts. a. treatment of forms, colors, space, etc …   Universalium

  • realism — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ political ▪ gritty, stark ▪ the stark realism of Loach s films ▪ literary ▪ magic …   Collocations dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.