Henry James Writing Styles in The Portrait of a Lady

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Psychological Realism

James is considered the foremost author of psychological realism, a subcategory of American realism.

The Realist period in American literature followed Romanticism, a movement that produced stories of idealized love and that elevated emotion above reason. The harsh realities of the Civil War suddenly made Romanticism irrelevant. The year of the war's end, 1865, marks the end of the Romantic period and the beginning of American realism.

Realism got its name from the fact that its stories depicted realistic characters in believable, lifelike situations. Heroes and heroines were not larger than life; they were often "just plain folks" that readers could identify with. And these characters faced problems similar to those that real people faced¬óneither melodramatic and overblown nor magically solved by some unexpected and incredible twist of the plot. These stories were told in straightforward, objective prose that sought to engage readers' minds more than their...

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This section contains 629 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Portrait of a Lady Study Guide
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The Portrait of a Lady from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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