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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter concentrates on European realist innovators—Björnstjerne Björnson, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant—and their effect on the formative period of American realism. It studies in detail the transatlantic development of new techniques and discusses the ways in which these new methods were reflected in the works of American authors and critics. Inspired by the theories and practice of their precursors, American writers felt liberated to introduce new narrative strategies to represent America’s rising urbanism, the struggles of the social classes, and the increase of social mobility in the industrial age. They also dealt with the emancipated “New Woman” and the changing relationship between the sexes. The guiding principles on which writers on both sides of the Atlantic agreed were truth, sincerity, and frankness.

Keywords: European realism, transnational realism, Honoré de Balzac, Björnstjerne Björnson, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant, Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Kate Chopin

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