Tuesday, October 13, 2009

1871: The Possessed to Les Rougon-Macquart

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Dostoevsky. Russian. 1871. Novel. The Possessed. Depicts revolutionary movement in Russia; career of Nikolay Stavrogin, nobleman. Genuine spiritual nihilism vs. affected nihilism of revolutionaries. Russian upper classes lack organic ties with Russian people; adhere to Western political ideas. Aristocracy must return to people’s orthodox faith; must lead people to their destiny, a new world of universal love and brotherhood contained in orthodoxy.

Esteban Echeverria. Argentine. 1871. Story. “El Matadero (“The Slaughterhouse”). Buenos Aires slaughterhouse; denounces the brutality of the dictatorship of Juan Manuel de Rosas.

Walt Whitman. American. 1871. Essay. “Democratic Vistas.” Sees decline in vigor and moral consciousness in post-Civil War America.

George Eliot. British. 1871/72. Novel. Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life. Idealistic woman, disillusioned by marriage to a scholar, makes an effort to contribute to medical reform; gives up her inheritance to marry the man she really loves.

Emile Zola. French. 1871/93. Novels. Les Rougon-Macquart. Twenty novels. National and social history of a family during the Second Empire. Characters depicted with brutal realism. Sordid lives. Dramatizes the desperate need for social change.

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