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Realist Poetics in American Culture, 1866-1900 - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Realist Poetics in American Culture, 1866-1900

Elizabeth Renker


The terms “poetry” and “realism” have a complex and often oppositional relationship in American literary histories of the postbellum period. The core narrative holds that “realism,” the major literary “movement” of the era, developed apace in prose fiction, while poetry, stuck in a hopelessly idealist late-romantic mode, languished and stagnated. Poetry is almost entirely absent from scholarship on American literary realism except as the emblem of realism’s opposite: a desiccated genteel “twilight of the poets.” Realist Poetics in American Culture, 1866–1900 refutes the familiar narrative of p ... More

Keywords: realism, American literary realism, nineteenth-century American poetry, Sarah Piatt, Herman Melville, twilight of the poets, genteel tradition, U.S. postbellum period, African American poets, William Dean Howells

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198808787
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198808787.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Elizabeth Renker, author
Professor, Department of English, The Ohio State University