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What is the difference between Impressionism and Expressionism in literature?

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loraaa | Student | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:30 AM via web

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What is the difference between Impressionism and Expressionism in literature?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 12, 2011 at 7:26 AM (Answer #1)

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To answer your question, one must first define both Impressionism and Expressionism.

Impressionism was a period which emerged in the Nineteenth century and was prominent during the 1870s and 1880s. Impressionistic literature characteristically detailed the author's impression (idea, opinion, or feeling about something) regarding a scene. Impressionism is sometimes related to symbolism given that impressionists characteristically offer a description of life using emotions and sensations.

Expressionism was a period which emerged during the late Nineteenth century and moved into the early Twentieth. This movement was most prominent from 1910 to 1925. Expressionistic literature characteristically detailed

distorted objective features of the sensory world using symbolism and dream-like elements in their works illustrating the alienating and often emotionally overwhelmed sensibilities.

While both movements relied upon the senses, Expressionists focused upon the overwhelming aspects of emotions while Impressionists used emotions to describe life in general.

Basically, Expressionists are using their emotions to define their words and Impressionists are using their words to define their emotions.

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