He realism Is an aesthetic movement that appears in Europe applied to literature and painting in the mid-nineteenth century.
This aesthetic is born as a response to the emotions cultivated by the Authors of romance , Replacing them by the search for truth and precision.
First, in order to understand realism, one must take into account the context and different aspects of the environment of the time, including the effects of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. In addition, the bourgeoisie becomes a powerful force of civilization that manages to have economic and social power.
Realism is a cultural period during which many scientific advances are made; The society, proud of its progress, inaugurates the universal expositions that will expose the different advances in the field of science. The first was held in London in 1851.
However, not only are changes in the scientific field, political and religious freedom, popular sovereignty and voting, they claim the role of the masses who mobilized throughout Europe. In this line, the development of industry, transport, media, agriculture and medicine, allow an increase in the population that can access culture.
It is said that 1850 is the date of the appearance of realism in France with the appearance of the novelist Stendhal who wrote his novels based on the psychological analysis of their characters and the innovative practice of observation. For Stendhal, the novel had to be"like a mirror placed along the way."
Following its teachings, other writers enter in the literary realism like Honoré de Balzac that creates"The Human Comedy", work with which tries to make a portrait of the society of the time. On the other hand, Alejandro Dumas endows humanity with stories and Charles Baudelaire or Gustave Flaubert put an ironic and pessimistic look on the individual.
From the art, the painters also joined the movement, especially the landscapers who had an important role in capturing the real experience. These include French painters such as Honoré Daumier, Jean-François Millet or Camile Corot and the English William Dyce, David Wilkie and David Scott.
For his part, in Russia, Leo Tolstoy reflects through his novels the diversity in which the Russian society of the time was immersed, as well as his own experiences. Others like Fyodor Dostoevsky, a paradigm of realistic prose, portray in their thematic novels as suicide, wounded pride, destruction of family values and spiritual rebirth through suffering.
In Spain, this new movement had a great reception since the Spanish literature had antecedents of the realistic novel promoted by Miguel de Cervantes, the picaresque novel and the costumbristas accounts. The most outstanding writers of Spanish realism were Fernán Caballero, Pedro Antonio de Alarcón and Benito Pérez Galdós
In England, different authors began their own realism as Daniel Defoe with Robinson Crusoe and Charles Dickens with works like Oliver Twist. The movement traveled throughout Europe reaching even the United States and Latin America. In this sense, writers like Mark Twain reflected themes of routine life as friendship and childhood adventures.
Here is a list of the main stylistic elements of realism as a literary, social and aesthetic expression:
Main characteristics of realism
1 - Realism establishes its bases in different scientific and philosophical currents
Movements such as positivism, which only considered true what could be observed and experienced, were the basis of positivism. Also the theories of the biological inheritance and the evolution of the species of Charles Darwin and the study of the societies from the sociology stand out.
2- The realist movement was born in the second half of the nineteenth century
This era is characterized by progressive governments that gave prominence to democratic rights and pushed for different reforms. It is a moment of history in which the liberated state is consolidated, the bourgeoisie and the workers' organizations are developed.
3- Realism seeks to distance itself from nostalgia
That is why it presents itself as an antithesis of the romanticism that reflected in his works the way of feeling and conceiving nature, life and man himself, giving priority to feelings.
In the past, romanticism had focused on the idealization of history and society, which was a way of evading true existence. For this reason since realism wants to return to the nearest reality and become aware of the most accurate problems.
4- New way of assuming reality by the authors
Writers face life instead of fleeing it, and through the novel attempts to criticize society from within. This transition from romanticism to realism is evident in bourgeois society.
5- Maintenance of some aspects of romanticism
Despite distancing itself from the previous aesthetic, realism maintains and develops some aspects of Romanticism as its interest for nature, for the regional and the local, the costumbrista. However, it eliminates other elements like fantasy and imagination and the characters are no longer considered legendary or passionate.
6- Regeneration of other forms of expression
As a result of this rejection of Romanticism other forms of expression such as sentimentality are denied, because what is sought is to show man objectively, with certain dyes of a crude reality. Likewise the spiritual is rejected which leaves in sight a bit of social individualism.
7- Change of narrator
In realistic literary works, the presence of the narrator is omniscient and knows in detail the past, present and even the future that holds the characters. He also knows the thoughts and intimacies of the protagonists and communicates the behaviors of these to the reader.
At other times the narrator is impersonal and acts as a simple chronicler who leaves a testimony of what happens in the work, that is why it is not usually present and is presented in 3rd person.
8- True reproduction of reality
In this case, all the topics can be taken into account or detailed by the writer, from the most heroic to the most modest,
As a curiosity, in order to achieve this objective the writer had to investigate meticulously through readings and fieldwork around the subject matter, works, sculptures and paintings are representations of what the author has seen.
10- Protagonism to the marginalized characters
From the literary point of view, the author gives prominence to characters who have difficult access to the culture or environments of the bourgeois class prevailing in that context. The writer usually focuses on his daily misery to criticize the evils that afflict his society. The characters are witnesses of an era.
The appearance of this species of characters that are doomed to failure or marginalization strengthened the appearance of a new literary concept called determinism, which states that the fate of the characters at literary or real level was already marked.
11- Narration of bourgeois life
In short, novels revolve around bourgeois life, their behaviors, their problems, their marriages, their relationships and money, although a portrait of the poorest sectors of the city and the rural world is also usually made.
12- New artistic procedures arise
It promotes the creativity of artists and writers, based on the author's detailed observation of reality. The work culminates with a detailed account of the most varied characters, showing how the social environment and congenital inheritance influence the destiny of individuals.
13- Detail of the environment and the landscape
The literary works give the same relevance to the characters as to the social environments in which these are developed, which are described in detail. As mentioned above, environments are analyzed meticulously thanks to the work of the narrator who serves as mediator between the story and the reader.
The realist novel unites the historical facts with the fiction, that is to say, the real personages with the fictitious ones by which the action happens in real places, concrete and known, or with imaginary name of real background. In addition, the dates also coincide with the moment in which the work is written adapting it to its context.
Realism would become the predecessor of Naturalism, current that years later would have as an objective to explain the behavior of the human being and to interpret life from the social environment and the laws that govern the behavior of the human being.
14- Colloquial and critical language
From the linguistic point of view, use is made of a popular and critical language to plausibly reflect reality. That is why in the works appear different expressions, according to the speech of the characters and their condition of life. Language can be natural, popular and even vulgar.
15- Reflecting the political and social trends of the moment
In this context two trends emerge that captures realism. The first backed by the conservatives who focus on the return to the preindustrial world, defend the rural world and show a face of the kind currency of reality. And the second represented by the liberals, who are inclined to portray an industrial society explicitly.
The middle class begins to notice the beneficial effects of progress and industry but at the same time realizes the appearance of the problems involved in this new model.
That is why there is a change in rural environments as in urban, giving way to more cynical, individualistic and materialistic attitudes, something that favored realistic artists who could reflect this situation in their works.
- Literary theory: Romanticism, Krausism and modernism before industrial 'globalization'. Ward, Thomas. "Matto, Cabello and Prada: Modernist roots towards a theory of literature", 2004.
- Universal literature, David Fernández, Barcelona, Almadraba, 2008.
- History of universal literature, Jordi Ferre and Susana Cañuelo, Barcelona, Óptima, 2002.
- Realism / Anti-Realism in 20th-Century Literature . Baron, Christine and Engel, Manfred, NL: Rodopi ed. 2010.
- Literary Realism , AmbrocioBarrueto Fausto M. De la Cruz Mendoza Jorge J, Universidad Nacional Mayor, University of Peru, Dean of America Authors, Lima - Peru 2008.
- Theories of literary realism . Villanueva Prieto, Francisco Darío. Espasa-Calpe, 1992.
- Tolstoy: psychological portrait . Porsche, François (1958). Buenos Aires: Losada.