Realism: The Art Of Impressionism

Realism is a period of art that started in the 1850’s and has continued on in various forms since then. In a literary sense Realism is the attempt to portray life as it is and not, like the Romantics, as it should be. This philosophy is the heart of Realism and “has its origins in Descartes and Locke” who laid the groundwork for Empirical thought (Ian Watts, Rise of the Novel). Realism portrays society by using Empirical methods, the human senses, to create an objective view of reality in the eyes of those that live it everyday. It is this humanistic factor that came to define the Realist movement.
The Romantics that preceded the Realists are one of the largest influences on the Realist movement. The Romantics painted a portrait of life that
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Impressionism came about much in the same that Realism did and served as a reaction to Realism. This movement sought to exaggerate the good qualities of life and focused on movement rather than accuracy. In literature, this movement revealed itself by moving away from plot focused novels and instead put the emotions and mental development of the characters front and center. Realism provided a backdrop for these writings. Impressionism wanted to turn a mirror onto itself and analyze the conventions of Literary Realism. In analyzing the traditions of Realism, Impressionism defined itself by breaking away from the …show more content…
Impressionism was an effort to analyze tropes and conventions used in Realism and did so by straying from them. Writings during the Realist period depict character’s lives from a necessary distance in order to allow a reader to see what is happening. Dostoevsky’s debut novel Poor Folk did so through the use of letters written between characters. These letters would have been the main method of communication for the main characters and doing so provides a realistic view of their lives. Readers get a view entirely of their lives and Realist writers do their best to present reality as it in every aspect of the writing. In an Impressionist novel, for example A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man the writing shifts from a distant third-person to sections of journal entries. This movement provides readers with a shifting scene that can change based on the character’s, and the reader’s, perspectives and emotions. Where the Realists wished to provide a view of reality as it happened, the Impressionists wanted to show how reality changes as people do. Marcel Proust says it best in his book Time Regained “Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer 's work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader 's recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book 's

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