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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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8. Regional Realism   



8. Regional
Realism


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Activities: Author Activities


Bret Harte - Selected Archive Items

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[1147] Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (1861),
courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.
This painting's title became a popular motto for Manifest Destiny in America after 1850. Portraits of Captain William Clark and Daniel Boone flank a depiction of San Francisco Bay at the bottom of the image.

[1181] Albert Bierstadt, Valley of the Yosemite (1864),
courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Rerproduced with permission. © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Gift of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1825-1865, 47.1236.
The romantic grandeur and luminism of Bierstadt's western landscapes reflect Hudson River School influences. Realist writers like Bret Harte sought to imbue the same landscapes with the gritty realities of frontier life.

[3707] Louis Charles McClure, The Gold Miner (c. 1890),
courtesy of the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.
The discovery of gold and silver in the American West drew fortune seekers from all over the world. Miners often served as the vanguard of American expansion.

[5228] Anonymous, Montgomery Street, San Francisco, 1852,
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-55762].
Rapid, mainly white immigration during the Gold Rush brought California to statehood in 1850 as a "free state" that forbade slavery. Yet demand for land and forced labor caused a genocidal-scale population decline among California Indians.

[5824] "Harte's Poems" (1871),
courtesy of the Cornell University Making of America Digital Collection.
This January 1871 review of Bret Harte's Poems reflects the way Harte's work helped shape notions of American manhood.

[5841] Currier and Ives, Gold Mining in California (c. 1871),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC2-1755].
This lithograph presents a romantic and sanitized portrayal of life in the gold fields.



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