Realism and Romanticism were very important periods in history that drastically changed literature, the arts and common though forever. These periods made people think more about the world and gave people new insight. It also gave people another perspective to use and was tkaen into account whenever thinking was done. With these new ways of thinking many new ideas and processes were experimented with.
Romanticism was a type of literature that arose in the beginning of the 1800's and continued for about sixty years. This style gave more value to feeling and intuition rather than reason. this was very common after the Industrial Revolution when everybody was trying to get away from their surroundings by reading of supernatural realms or of the natural world.
Romanticism is very obvious in the story Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving. In the story, there is a very lazy man that does no work. One day while he is hunting, he thinks that he has found a group of old men playing ninepins. He joins them and gets very drunk. Eventually he wakes up and returns to his town, but finds out that he has been away for over twenty years. This is nothing like the realist story, To Build A Fire, by Jack London in which a man is walking along through the arctic and gets his feet wet. This wetting of his feet eventually leads to his death within a few hours. Romanticism stayed away from most negative feelings and dealt with things in a way that makes the unreal easy to believe. Realism is on the exact opposite side of the spectrum.
Realism was used as a means to accurately portray real life without filtering it through personal feelings, romanticism, and idealism. This period lasted for about fifty years from 1850 to 1900. It focused on the lives of everyday people that did their regular day to day actions. They were not embellished but usually told the truth to the reader.
One of the greatest realist works is Life on the Mississippi, by Mark Twain.