2008 : "Realism without Borders"

... Modernism

"Post-Realism"? Anti-Realism : Dada, Meta-Theatre, and etc.


chekhov pages index

Dramatic Theory & Some History

Ionesco: "Realism, whether it be socialist or not, falls short of reality. It shrinks it, attenuates it, falsifies it; it does not take into account our basic truths and our fundamental obsessions: love, death, astonishment. It presents man in a reduced and estranged perspective. Truth is in our dreams, in the imagination." If you are a webmaster, you know my problems: instead of writing about Realism, I struggle with the HTML codes. That's my reality...
Playscript Notes

To see how Method Acting helps with the Script Analysis, see the archives in 3 Sisters Discussion eGroup.

For the very basics in drama theory see 200X Drama Directory

* Dramatic Literature Forum -- join!

Back to 413 Playscript Analysis!

* Reality & Simulacra in POMO

Tradition of Realism in American Drama

Mamet and Pinter (2007 season) (compare with British)

Aristotle writes of mimesis: "Epic poetry and Tragedy, Comedy also and Dithyrambic: poetry, and the music of the flute and of the lyre in most of their forms, are all in their general conception modes of imitation."

modes of imitation ... of action.

.... new pages in themes directory: mortality? or in "death"?

"Fantastic Realism" (Dostoevsky)


Realism : A literary and theatrical practice valuing direct imitation or verisimilitude. Often associated with Naturalism, modern realism is sometimes described as the inheritor of Naturalism. In practice, Realism is usually more concerned with psychological motives, the “inner reality,” and less committed to achieving a superficial verisimilitude alone.


Naturalism : A late nineteenth-century movement that attempted to achieve an objective verisimilitude in art— chiefly in theater and literature— by adopting a “scientific” attitude toward its subject matter. Thematically, naturalism emphasizes the role of society, history, and personality in determining the action of its characters, usually expressed as a conflict between the characters and their environment. (compare the two: Naturalism is a kind of “Man vs. Nature” and Realism a kind of “Man vs. Man” (or Man vs. Self)?)


Historic approach or Literary criticism? Both?
Benet’s _Reader’s Encyclopedia_: “The term realism is used to describe literature that attempts to depict life in an extremely objective manner, without idealization or glamour, and without didactic or moral ends.” In theatre, early realistic playwrights turned to realism in an attempt to escape artificialities of presentation and purpose that had arisen at least as long before as the Renaissance Neoclassical movement, and especially to remove the emotional excesses and exaggerated contrivances of melodrama and, particularly, of the well-made play. They sought to place people and problems from life as it is, not as it should or could or ought to be, on stage and to depict the resolutions of those problems without concern for what values the result might teach an audience.

Naturalism in theatre, on the other hand, is one of those modern stylistic movements inspired by discoveries or advances in the sciences. Between 1830 and 1842, French philosopher Auguste Comte published his theory of positivism, believing that scientific methods of observation and experimentation should be applied to, among other things, the social sciences. In 1859, Charles Darwin published _The Origin of the Species_. In 1865, Claude Bernard published his _Introduction to Experimental Medicine_, “a study of the effects of environment on the functioning of bodily organs and of changes in bodily chemistry on behavior” (Brockett, _Century of Invention_, p. 23). Emile Zola, the novelist and playwright traditionally recognized as the originator of Naturalistic literary and theatrical style, was most directly influenced by Bernard’s writings. Brockett’s _Century of Innovation_ (23), “Zola sought to apply Bernard’s method to literature. He compared the writer to a doctor, who seeks the causes of a disease so that it may be cured, not glossing over infection but bringing it out into the open where it can be examined. Similarly, the writer should seek out social ills and reveal them so that they may be corrected. It was probably this analogy between pathology and art that led the naturalists so often to choose subjects from the more sordid aspects of human behavior.” Brockett goes on to note that Zola both sought scientific objectivity and realized its impossibility in literature. Zola felt that realistic playwrights, by imposing the Aristotelian necessity for a beginning, middle, and end, were being too manipulative and thus subjective. He wanted to eliminate this structural imposition, leaving only a slice of life on stage. (Also, read Chekhov's pages for Realism/Naturalism issues)
Note that these comments address Realism as a playwriting style, not as it occurs in design elements such as scenery, costumes and lighting, nor even in acting. The latter can be applied in production to scripts that are not realistic. [ Tom Pallen, ASTR ]

drao: a Greek word meaning "to act" or "to do;" drama derives from this term. Well, well - interesting, the questions. Maybe not academic at all (thanks, John and others).
So, Naturalism isn't Realism? But why is it linked to the Realism period? Chekhov is a "Naturalist"? Well, then who is not?
I struggle with this question in Dramlit and Playscript Analysis classes. Is Realism a method and Naturalism a style? In Theatre History we can get "historical" and attribute Naturalism to historicity, but I have even more problems with Realism/Naturalism riddle, when I teach film classes!
It was easy to tell them (students) that there was the time of "photographic discovery" and etc., but does the "recording nature of film" makes everything "naturalistic"?
Then I come home and watch the war news -- what is "naturalist" ("objective"?) and what is "real"? Aristotle with his mimesis doesn't help much; we have too much of both (realism and naturalism) for our ideological and artistic needs and wants. Well, we must be in the postmodern forest...

chekhov pages @ vtheatre

Mallarme in 1864: “paint not the thing but the effect that it produces”!

o ‘Real’ is from the Latin res = thing
o Realism = ‘thing-ism’

o Realism in Western thought begins as a partner to Idealism, and ends up in the C19 a partner to materialism

I do not have "Naturalism Page" (read Ibsen File), but see Symbolism and read critical commentaries in your textbook.

Gerhart Hauptmann * Henri Becque * Maxim Gorky * Eugene Brieux * Eugene O'Neill

Impressionism and Expressionism (forms of "Realism"?)

Modern Drama in Theory and Practice: Volume 1, Realism and Naturalism (Modern Drama in Theory & Practice)
This volume begins with the naturalistic revolt in France against traditional styles of theatre. As realism becomes a European movement the account moves from Paris to the Meiningen company and Ibsen's work as producer and play-wright in Oslo, Chekhov's in Moscow, Shaw's in London, Synge's in Dublin. Among the producers are Antoine, Brahm, Grein, Granville-Baker, Nemirovich-Danchenko and Stanislavsky. The early days of the Irish Dramatic Movement and the chief realistic directors and critics in the USA after Belasco are considered; the tradition is shown to persist in the work of Williams and Miller in the USA and Osborne and Bond in England.

Modernism to Realism on the Soviet Stage : Tairov - Vakhtangov - Okhlopkov (Directors in Perspective)

M. Chekhov -- Acting One: Fundamentals

Non-Real, Anti-Realism?

What is REAL?

... Social Realism, Socialist Realism. Realism & Ideology? Brecht


Naturalism (Ibsen) -- Realism (Chekhov) -- Symbolism (Strindberg)


Realism = Naturalism + Symbolism

(forms of mimesis?)

Realism is commonly defined as a concern for fact or reality and rejection of the impractical and visionary. However, the term realism is used, with varying meanings, in several of the liberal arts; particularly painting, literature, and philosophy. It is also used in international relations. In Philosophy realism is the view that there is an external world that exists independant of our perception of it. [ wiki ]

Realism or the Realist school and realism - The realistic and natural representation of people, places, and/or things in a work of art. The opposite of idealization. One of the common themes of postmodernism is that this popular notion of an unmediated presentation is not possible. This sense of realism is sometimes considered synonymous with naturalism.

And Realism (with an upper case "R"), also known as the Realist school, denotes a mid-nineteenth century art movement and style in which artists discarded the formulas of Neoclassicism and the theatrical drama of Romanticism to paint familiar scenes and events as they actually looked. Typically it involved some sort of sociopolitical or moral message, in the depiction of ugly or commonplace subjects. [ pix ]


DramLit 2007 : part 3 : Realism and High Modernity

Chekhov Pages = chekhov.us



... history.vtheatre.net (new)

* Realism and Psychology = "Mimesis of Soul" : Truth about Inner Being : New Drama (Inner Conflict as Subject of "Modern" Drama). [ see "Chekhov Pages" ]


Philosophy of Art [ questia.com ]

... [* bottom] major developments helped lead to the emergence of realism:

1. August Comte (1798-1857), often considered to be the "father of Sociology," developed a theory known as Positivism. Among the Comte’s ideas was an encouragement for understanding the cause and effect of nature through precise observation.

2. Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, and creators a worldwide stir which exists to this day. Darwin’s essential series suggested that life developed gradually from common ancestry and that life favored "survival of low fittest." The implications of Darwin's Theories were threefold:
people were controlled by heredity and environment
behaviors were beyond our control
humanity is a natural object, rather than being above all else

3. Karl Marx (1818-1883) in the late 1840’s espoused a political philosophy arguing against urbanization and in favor of a more equal distribution of wealth

... terms:





Realism Page
I would argue that "Realism" is impossible, it actually cannot exist. An aesthetic quality can never be "real." This is at the heart of Aristotle's sense of tragedy as an "imitation of an action," or Schechner's sense of performance as "twice-behaved" behavior. "Realism," as a late-nineteenth-century approach to art, is more about the desire to approximate life in order to ameliorate social conditions (cf. Lukacs's deification of nineteenth-century novels as social analyses), than it is an achievable goal of drama or any other art form.
Isn't this why extreme realism--in other words, sur-realism--leaps into the fantastic?
john bell (from discussion on ASTR list)

"All I wanted was to say honestly to people: 'Have a look at yourselves and see how bad and dreary your lives are!' The important thing is that people should realize that, for when they do, they will most certainly create another and better life for themselves. I will not live to see it, but I know that it will be quite different, quite unlike our present life. And so long as this different life does not exist, I shall go on saying to people again and again: 'Please, understand that your life is bad and dreary!'" Chekhov

The idea was simple -- we noticed ourselves. We turned our eyes from the heaven to the mirror. Not gods, but MAN became the sublect. Nature, small things. We do not grand the Dark Ages with the hidden development of this aspect of Christianity -- the human nature of Christ, but without studies of divinity we wouldn't be ably to see it in us. (The postmodern starts with the reaction to REALISM and the REAL).

"Realism" is a trick concept. Are my thoughts and feelins real? So, where does this REALITY start and end?

What is not realism?

19th century is given the crown for realistic acheavements and that was the century of the classical realism.

All the writers of the part II are the 20th century playwrights. We will use comparative analysis to work with their script. We'll bring the titles and topic covered in part I and see how we can examine the variety of realism. REALISM WITHOUT BORDERS. Williams and Chekhov. O'Neill and Sophocles.

Pirandello -- playing with the Real.

Miller and Ibsen

Wilde -- Comedy Idea (Genre): Importance of Being Earnest (production notes).

Related Pages: Modernism, Postmodern

Read Anton Chekhov

Also, American Drama: O'Neill, Williams, Miller, Albee, Shepard, Mamet -- all came from the same tradition. But first -- Ibsen.

Roger Garody wrote "Realism Without Borders" (in the sixties), but the best discussion of the subject you can find in Bakhtin's books on genres. [ big Bakhtin Page in THR Theory. ]

"A literary and theatrical practice valuing direct immitation or verisimilitude. Often associated with Naturalism, modern realism is something described as the inheritor of naturalism. In practice, realism is usually more concerned with psychological motives, the "inner reality," and less committed to achieving a superficial verisimilitude alone." (Modern Drama)

DADA Page Be careful when you read in your textbooks that Beckett is "antirealist"! Absurdism is not an antithesis to Realism. Especially, if you see it from the postmodern perspective. It could be said that Naturalism is the opposite of Realism since it appeals only to surfice of the Real (this point was raised long ago). Read Martin Esslin The Theatre of the Absurd (1961) where he explains the logic of the world with broken logic.

Also, see Ionesco's writing on the universal language (p.763 DramLit Textbook). [This topic is connected with our discussion on Post-American Age. See Dada to understand the evolution of sensitivity in the late high modernity, its crisis and transition to the postmodern.]

Esslin refers to the western traditions of realism (p.724) behind the Theatre of the Absurd. Read Sidney Homan "The Ending of Endgame" (724-727).

In THR413 we study this subject in depth: Postmodern -- Absurd -- Inner Reality (mindscape -- Muller).

[ Bedford 885-891 -- The Heritage of Realism, including Shaw. ]
* Early and mid-20th-century Drama (timeline p.893)


Duplicate of the Methods page!?

* Realism as a style or a method? Do you know the difference? [ . ]

More Questions

The same as Methods page in CLASSES directory?

I do not have "Naturalism" page; the historical context (Neoclassism and Romanticism before it, Symbolism -- around and after) is gone -- the elements of "naturalism"... interesting, but belongs more to acting-directing pages.

..."realism and naturalism are synonyms? Or naturalism is a thematic concern, while realism is aesthetic? Thus a play can be naturalist and/or realist. Christopher Innes, A Sourcebook on Naturalist Theatre (Routledge 2000).

And Raymond Williams's 'Keywords' (comparing the two).

How about that: [ Realism: It looks real. Naturalism: It is real. ]

* "Realism" (with a capital "A"), refers to an historical phenomenon (as does Romanticism), but that realism and romanticism exist across time periods?

.... naturalism is a thematic concern, while realism is aesthetic. [?]


Compare Realism, Naturalism, Symbolism (one writer)
Read! (Cherry Orchard in THR215)

"Photo-realism"? What about the eintire movie industry? Read Socialist Realism in Theatre Theory.


Jesus! "The Heritage of Realism" (503) and the following -- Realism and Myth, Poetic Realism, Social Realism, Realism and Expressionism, Antirealism... like a salad bar!

"Realism without Borders" (Garody): Emotional Thought. Sorry, kids, there are several refernces to the debate from ASTR (American Society Theatre Research) discussion list.
Naturalism isn't Realism? But why is it linked to the Realism period? Chekhov is a "Naturalist"? Well, then who is not?
I struggle with this question in Dramlit and Playscript Analysis classes. Is Realism a method and Naturalism a style? In Theatre History we can get "historical" and attribute Naturalism to historisity, but I have even more problems with Realism/Naturalism riddle, when I teach film classes!
It was easy to tell them (students) that there was the time of "photographic discovery" and etc., but does the "recording nature of film" makes everything "naturalistic"?
Then I come home and watch the war news -- what is "naturalist" (objective?) and what is "real"? Aristotle with his mimesis doesn't help much, we have too much of both (realism and naturalism) for our ideological and artistic needs and wants. We must be in the postmodernist forest...
Or is the Naturalism nothing less than Pseudo-Realism (our advertising industry)? Naturalism is Anti-Realism? (Chekhov's reaction to Stanislavsky's productions of his plays).

Yes, I hold myself back from an attempt to ask, is Naturalism... Anti-Real? But what about the extreme realism of survilence cameras and x-rays? (Real, true or nor?)
The New French try to investigate the border between fiction and reality for more than two decades, from Deleuze, Foucalt, Badlliard to Virilio. "What is Real" was a legitimate question from the times of Plato to Kant and after. In fact, this very issue is responsible for our definitions in history of thought such as Romanticism, Impressionism, Expressionism and so on.

[ I came from the place which loves Fantastic Realism and responsible for invention of Socialist Realism. I have to take Realism seriously ("real or not" and Psychological or Epic). What is the point of having Aesthetics after all?

[ naturalism (whatever your definition) works much better in film than on stage -- explain ]


[ from "Acting in Style" ]

6. Realism.
Intrinsic Demands.
Performance Demands.
Exercises, Games, Techniques.
Playing the Style.

7. Chekhov.
Intrinsic Demands.
Performance Demands.
Exercises, Games, Techniques. Naturalism from theatrelinks.com

Next: NonReal
PPS. I don't really care for this "Naturalism" (but it is in every textbook) and the thought -- "What everything about film (movies) is naturalism?" What is Natiralism swallowed Realism (mass culture)? What a nightmare!

Naturalism is a movement in theater and film. In theater, it developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theater that tries to create a perfect illusion of reality, through detailed sets, an unpoetic literary style that reflects the way real people speak, and a style of acting that tries to recreate reality (often by seeking complete identification with the role, as advocated by Stanislavsky). http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Naturalism * What was the origin of naturalism, and how did it evolve? What were the basic concepts of naturalism in the theatre?
* the faithful reproduction of nature
* the analysis of the forces that animated European society * To what extent did naturalism in the theatre represent
new forms of staging
new dramatic forms
new social movements

* How was naturalism related to movements in the other arts? (Photography)
How was naturalism related to the social and political history of late nineteenth century Europe? * What was the nature of realistic dramatic form?
* What was the "well-made-play"?

* How did Strindberg's Miss Julie exemplify naturalism? Realism?

* Why, beginning in the 1890s, does naturalism decline and virtually disappear as a form of vital new theatre in France?

Chekhov-Realism * How about Garcia Marquez - Magical Realism? (originally, Dostoevsky, see Bakhtin).


Nominalism, Realism, Conceptualism -- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11090c.htm -- Theology POV

History question: Realism appears after the 1848 French revolution...

It expresses both a taste for democracy and a reaction against romanticism. Yet, inspite of its social inclinations it produces no new style in architecture and only inspires a few valuable sculptures. [ ? ]

Social Task: Realism doesn't intend to produce beauty. It wants to be a witness and express the truth of the forgotten classes. [socialism and marxism]...

In Theatre -- http://novaonline.nv.cc.va.us/eli/spd130et/realism.htm ***

1. truth resides in material objects we perceived to all five senses; truth is verified through science

2. the scientific method—observation—would solve everything human problems were the highest were home of science

3. Art—according to the realist view—had as its purpose to better mankind.

Drama was to involve the direct observation of human behavior; therefore, the trust to use contemporary settings and time periods, and it was to deal with a temporary life and problems has subjects.

[ George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) – England: Pygmalion (1913) – shows the transforming of a flower girl into a society woman, and exposes the phoniness of society. The musical "My Fair Lady" was based on this play. ]

AmDrama: 3 + 3 = (O'Neill - Williams - Miller) + (Albee - Shepard - Mamet1) and Kushner and others


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism : Literary realism, a 19th-century literary trend toward depicting contemporary life and society as it is, rather than a romanticized or similarly stylized presentation. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_realism ]

[ w ] Psychological realism, a genre placing strong emphasis on interior characterization, sometimes employing interior monologue, to explain external actions.
[ A psychological novel, also called psychological realism, is a work of prose fiction which places more than the usual amount of emphasis on interior characterization, and on the motives, circumstances, and internal action which springs from, and develops, external action. The psychological novel is not content to state what happens but goes on to explain the why and the wherefore of this action. In this type of writing character and characterization are more than usually important, and they often delve deeper into the mind of a character than novels of other genres. The psychological novel can be called a novel of the "inner man", so to say. In some cases, the stream of consciousness technique, as well as interior monologues, may be employed to better illustrate the inner workings of the human mind at work. Flashbacks may also be featured. ]

http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/spd130et/realism.htm *