By 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 reputation. via prolonged readings of works by means of 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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Later, March spends an afternoon wandering the streets not because he is drawn toward observing the “war” between the strikers and management but because he “interested himself in the apparent indiﬀerence of the mighty city” (p. ). 59 March’s having cultivated his attention to the frustrating negativities that American society presents comes in handy during small moments of implicit cultural competition such as, for example, when he and Isabel have to travel with the friendly but self-important Mr.
Howells’s magazine American Literary Realism criticism poses the question of literary dialect as one that, to be approached properly, requires special kinds of aesthetic discernment; hence, evaluations of literary dialect – its general artistic validity as well as the speciﬁc qualities or eﬀects of individual instances – will distinguish among those doing the evaluating just as much as among the writing that is being evaluated. 12 Here I should emphasize how my approach diﬀers from several recent considerations of the roles that dialect writing played in American literary culture during this period.
The gap, he frustratedly admits, is one no mastery of American colloquialisms could help him to close. After emphasizing the gap’s unyielding, irreducible nature, the central question that Sewell must then negotiate, however, is how to bear himself in relation to it. 53 Instead, it comes when he recognizes an inescapable lack of transparency that will always remain in his relations with Lemuel. The minister can and does shed a sequence of distorting illusions about the farm boy, but what he comes to see most clearly of all is that because of their class diﬀerence he will always wear distorting lenses of one sort or another when looking at Lemuel.