Realism and Naturalism (second half of the 19th century)

Realism and Naturalism (second half of the 19th century)

What period of literature are you referring to? : Realism and Naturalism (second half of the 19th century)

Realism is an artistic and literary current that reacts against Romanticism. It is no longer about talking only about oneself, but about explaining the social reality of the moment in an objective way. For its part, Naturalism claims that literature is a science whose object of study and systematic exploration is the social environment. The novelist, like a scientist, must experiment with his characters to see how their reactions change as circumstances change and always taking into account their particular inherited biological condition.

What are the characteristics of realism?

  • Imitation of the scientific method : the writer tries to make his work reflect social reality accurately and objectively. The works are influenced by the philosophical and sociological currents of the moment (positivism, evolutionism, determinism).
  • Presence of an omniscient narrator : the author adopts the role of someone who anticipates what is going to happen, judges his characters, dialogues with the reader.
  • Verisimilitude: scenes from everyday reality with common characters are shown.
  • Sobriety: the style is simple and clear.
Spanish literary stages
Statue of the regenta in Oviedo, a character from the play La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas.

What literary genres were cultivated?

There is a clear preference for the novel, since it is the most apt genre to describe social reality. The most cultivated themes are love and its problems, marriage and adultery, religion and the confrontation between liberal and conservative ideologies.



Main works and most representative authors

The works and authors of Realism and Naturalism that we can highlight are:

  • Benito Pérez Galdós: National episodes, Marianela, Doña Perfecta, La disinherited, Fortunata and Jacinta
  • Leopoldo Alas, Clarín: The Regenta
  • Emilia Pardo Bazán : The pazos de Ulloa and The test Realism and Naturalism (second half of the 19th century)

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