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Realism and Naturalism

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Matt Cornish

on 20 December 2017

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Transcript of Realism and Naturalism

Realism vs. Naturalism
Realism and Naturalism
Character's Heritage
Common, basic, shared experiences
Specialized, isolated. Compartmentalized. Author explores an area unfamiliar to the audience: coal miners, life in a lower class apartment building, military prisoners, etc.
Draws on the familiar, on the shared knowledge of the author and audience.
Documentation, research, case studies.
Man is seen as part of society, of the community. He exists in relation to societal institutions, which retain at least some validity.
Man is a part of nature. Appetites important: food, sex, alcohol.
Expressive of the characters, sympathetic to them. Less rigidly deterministic than in Naturalistic plays.
Characters entrapped in their environment. Deterministic.
Characters have common traits and background, but genetic psychic factors influence rather than determine destinies.
Characters are biologically and psychologically determined. Darwinian.
Gerhart Hauptmann’s
Les Tisserand
(The Weavers), Théâtre Libre, 1896. Hauptmann’s play dispensed with an individual tragic hero. His place was taken by an entire social group, the Silesian weavers, struggling against the introduction of mechanical looms. Source: Brown, "Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre," 348.
Zola's 1890 novel exploring the dark sides of social life and human psychology, taking as its subject the “bête humaine” (human beast).
Further Reading
Key Terms:
Well-Made Play
Henrik Ibsen

Miss Julie
, The Intimate Theatre, 1908
Ingmar Bergman’s 1981 production of Miss Julie. Source: Stockenström, Strindberg’s Dramaturgy.
"Fräulein Julie" at the Schaubühne Berlin,
directed by Katie Mitchell and Leo Warner, 2010
Charcot’s Hysteria Clinics depicted in "A Clinical Lecture at the Salpêtrière," by André Brouillet, 1887
Strindberg, "Storm in the Skerries," 1892
Strindberg, "Double Picture," 1892
Strindberg, Celestopgraphs, 1894
Royal Library, Stockholm.
Strindberg and Helium! "Strindberg and Helium in Absinth and Women," strindbergandhelium.com
Doll House
A Dream Play
The Weavers
The Lower Depths
Zola, "Preface to
Thérèse Raquin
Thérèse Raquin
, I have sought to study temperaments and not characters. In that lies the entire book. I have selected personages sovereignly
dominated by their nerves and their blood, destitute of free will
, led at each act of their life by the fatalities of their flesh. Thérèse and Laurent are
human brutes
, nothing more."

"In a word, I had but one desire : given a powerful man and an unsated woman, seek the
animal within them
, even see nothing but the animal, cast them into a violent drama, and scrupulously note the acts and sensations of these beings. I have simply undertaken on two living bodies the analytical work which
perform on corpses."

"I became lost in the minute and
exact copy
of life, giving myself up entirely to the analysis of the human mechanism"

"One thing is certain, the
scientific analysis
which I have attempted to perform in
Thérèse Raquin
would not surprise them ; they would see in it the modern method, the instrument of universal inquiry of which the century makes such feverish use to penetrate the future."
1791-1861: Eugène Scribe
1867/1873: Zola's
Thérèse Raquin
Novel and Play
1876: Richard Wagner's Bayreuth
Festspielhaus Opens
1874-1890: Duke of Saxe-Meiningen Tours
1879: Ibsen's
Doll House
1887: André Antoine founds the Théâtre Libre

1888: Strindberg's
Miss Julie
1898: Moscow Art Theatre Opens
1907: Strindberg's Intimate Theatre Opens
Claude Monet’s “Impression, soleil levant,” 1872
Ibsen and HEDDA
Hedda Gabler
at the Schaubühne Berlin, directed by Thomas Ostermeier, 2009
Emilie Zola
August Strindberg

"A large, pleasantly and tastefully furnished drawing room, decorated in somber tones. In the rear wall is a wide doorway with the curtains pulled back. This doorway leads into a small room decorated in the same style. In the right wall of the drawing room is a folding door leading into the hall. In the opposite wall, a glass door, also with its curtains pulled back. Outside, through the windows, part of a covered veranda can be seen, along with trees in their autumn colors. [...] On both sides of the upstage doorway stand shelves displaying terra cotta and majolica objects. By the back wall of the inner room, a sofa, a table and a couple of chairs can be seen. Above the sofa hangs the portrait of a handsome elderly man in a general's uniform. [...] There are many flowers arranged in vases and glasses all around the drawing room. More flowers lie on the tables." Norton 248.
"HEDDA: Ten o’clock—then he’ll appear. I see him before me with vine leaves in his hair, burning bright and bold. […] Then you’ll see—then he’ll have power over himself again. Then he’ll be a free man for the rest of his days." Norton 281
The interior of Wagner's Festspielhaus
"I have motivated the tragic fate of Miss Julie with an abundance of circumstances: her mother's basic instincts, her father's improper bringing-up of the girl, her own inborn nature, and her fiance's sway over her weak and degenerate mind. Further and more immediately: the festive atmosphere of Midsummer Eve, her father's absence, her period, her preoccupation with animals, the erotic excitement of the dance, the long summer twilight, the highly aphrodisiac influence of the flowers, and finally chance itself." Norton 158
Full transcript