Exploring writers of romanticsm and realism

Essay by joanjettUniversity, Bachelor's June 2004

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In this essay I would like to explore writers of both Romanticism and Realism including Frederick Douglass (1818?-1895), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) and Anton Chekhov (1860-1904). These writers and their works, "Hedda Gabler", "The Cherry Orchard" and "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" to name a few were instrumental to the development of the Romantic genre then changing to Realism as we know it to be today.

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the year 1818. Slavery and the harsh reality it carries with it was all he knew. His mother was a slave and his father was said to have been a white man, his mother's master. He spent many years writing what is referred to as his 'autobiography'. This was a very important piece because it gave insight into the world of slavery and the devastation it caused to the people who lived through it.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in the year 1712. His works define the ideas of the eighteenth century. "The emphasis on imagination and passion for him seems not a matter of ideology but of experience: life presents itself to him in this way. The fact emphasizes the degree to which the movement we call Romanticism involved genuine revision." (World Masterpieces p427)

Ibsen and Chekhov were very important figures in the beginning and throughout the development of the Age of Realism. Writers were starting to shift their views from the imaginative, romantic times to a more real portrayal of life and it's ups and downs. "The Realists wanted a truthful representation in literature of reality - that is, of contemporary life and manners." (World Masterpieces p837)

In the eyes of a Realist writer everything must be portrayed. As described by Chekhov, "A writer must be as...