Studies in Literature, Drama, and Film
Chapter 3. The Anti-Romantic Reaction in Modern(ist) Criticism
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THE ANTI-ROMANTIC REACTION IN MODERN(IST) CRITICISM
In the second half of the nineteenth century and after the two major literary movements in European Literature, romanticism and realism, had reached their peak, a new wave of literary trends appeared which were, in the main, opposed to those two great movements.
If by realism we mean, in general terms, the faithful reproduction of reality as colored naturally by the writer’s personal viewpoint and outlook, and if we regard romanticism as, fundamentally, a great intuition of change in nature and society and a great striving for the creation of a new world where those contradictory dualities in nature and society are resolved, thus giving rise to a new view of poetry as a union of opposites, then we must regard the main literary trends of the late nineteenth century, naturalism and symbolism, as a retreat from the positions and the achievements of both realism and romanticism.
Similarly, just as the new realism of the twentieth century is often defined as the combination of romanticism and realism, elevated on the basis of a new world outlook to depict the new historical conditions, so can the various modernist trends of the twentieth century be seen to be, in the main, ← 17 | 18 → a reaction against both realism and romanticism and a retreat intellectually from the ideological standpoint of both movements. And just as, in strictly formal terms, romanticism...
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