By Professor Phillip Barrish
Targeting key works of late-nineteenth and early- twentieth-century American literary realism, Phillip Barrish lines the emergence of latest methods of gaining highbrow prestige—that is, new methods of gaining a point of cultural attractiveness. via prolonged readings of works via Henry James, William Dean Howells, Abraham Cahan, and Edith Wharton, Barrish emphasizes the variations among realist modes of cultural authority and people linked to the increase of the social sciences.
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Extra info for American Literary Realism, Critical Theory, and Intellectual Prestige, 1880-1995
54 In Howells’s earlier novel, Bromfield mostly displayed distaste for Silas Howells and the roots of realist taste Lapham and the vernacular American real that Silas was made to represent. Bromfield’s only way of taking some incidental pleasure in Silas Lapham relied on facile picturesquing gestures. ” Bromfield goes so far as to arrange for Barker to live in his house and to read novels out loud to him, including such writers as the American regionalist Bret Harte. Bromfield “liked to hear Lemuel talk, and he used the art of getting at the boy’s life by being frank with his own experience” (p.
Dr. Morrell’s “severity” with Annie soon modulates towards a sort of rigorous pleasure as he tries to make her see that there was nothing that anyone could have done for the sick baby. Given all of the medical factors involved, she has no reason to blame herself so excessively. He “allowed himself to smile” when he comes to the end of his explanation, and then to “smile once more, and, at some permissive light in her face, he began even to laugh”: “All the tears in the world wouldn’t help; and my American Literary Realism laughing hurts nobody.
44 Howells’s letters and first-person essays of this period return again and again to the irony of this specific disjunction: “As yet I haven’t got to doing anything, myself,” he concludes yet another letter that passionately criticizes social and economic inequalities. ”45 One couldn’t quite say that Howells’s letters and first-person essays convey a “taste” for finding clashes between his own sincere convictions and his daily practices if “taste” were taken to mean that he finds such clashes directly pleasurable.
American Literary Realism, Critical Theory, and Intellectual Prestige, 1880-1995 by Professor Phillip Barrish