Comparison Chart For Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism

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Comparison Chart for Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism
Quality of Literature

Decorum, concision, restraint, balance,
reason, regularity, wit
“Theproper study of mankind is Man.” –
Alexander Pope, manners, politics, social

Emotion, introspection, passion, sublimity,
beauty, spontaneity, irregularity, picturesqueHumankind, nature, the soul, individuality,
women, children, animals, flowers, rural,
common people

Realistic, clear, precise, serious, truthful,
The current time, facts ofindividual’s life,
housewives, business/commerce, social
conditions, everyday occurrences


absolute, public, rational

private, spiritual (but not organized religion),
universal spirit innature and humankind

objectivity, moral behavior, money, life
doesn’t always have happy endings

The writer

Witty, gentlemanly, moral, incisive,
rational, capable of moral outrage
The urban,rural settings are ignorant and

Solitary, reflective, inspired, a person of
imagination, visionary
Rural, the countryside, city is the seat of
corruption and greed

Detachedobservers, recorder of facts, deemphasize writer’s importance
The city, the factory, inside the house


Biblical, Classical Greece and Rome

The mythic, medieval, gothic, but notClassical references

Contemporary events—here and now


Dressed up language, formal, full of
allusions, didactic

Beautiful, colloquial, creative

Technical, clinical, detailed,realistic


Satire, epistle, epic, sonnet

Lyric, ode

Novel, drama, newspaper


Formal, regular meter, regular rhyme

Less formal, may have irregular meter and
rhymeNatural, realistic, not contrived

Ideas of nature

The order of things, harmony, rationality,
the real world as we experience it is
divinely ordered

External world is beautiful, nature is...
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