Essay Realism Literature

Additionally, this literary realist era can be seen as the natural development of an age forced to acknowledge a number of new ‘realities’.

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Conversely, Jane Austen’s novels are realist, but you could claim that the spooky Gothic fiction she disliked so much reflects more of the anxiety and agitation of an Age of Revolution than Mansfield Park does …

Walter Benjamin considered that Baudelaire’s poetry reflected the urban masses of Paris, even though those masses are nowhere actually present in his work.

According to this theory, suggests Eagleton (2003), realism is a relationship between the artwork and its audience, “in which case your play can be realistic on Monday but not on Thursday.

One person’s realism is another’s fantasy.” Realism, in this context, is a matter of what the audience or readers ‘get out of the thing’, not what an author might put into it.

In this sense, a work in the ‘Brechtian’ tradition is realistic not once and for all, but by reference to its ability at a particular time and place to allow individuals to understand and to change the conditions of their existence.

For Brecht, “reality changes and in order to represent reality, modes of representation must also change.That is, to chart no less, the surfacing and submerging of popular realism over two millennia by fastening on to some stray passage or excerpt or phrase in order to unpack from it a wealth of historical and ‘real’ insight.For Auerbach, realism was always evident in the text, even as far back as antiquity.Life lacked symmetry and plot, realist authors argued; fiction that truthfully reflected life should, therefore, avoid symmetry and plot.The stylistic result was a much greater emphasis on characterisation.His realism focuses not on questions of form or content, but on social function” (Goring, 2001).Does that mean we should not be bound by what the author said, or thought he was saying, but cede authority to the reader? For Hungarian philosopher and theorist, Georg Lukacs, realism placed a high premium on two things: Firstly, “portraying the totality of reality in some form or other and secondly, penetrating beneath the surface appearance of reality so as to be able to grasp the underlying laws of historical change” (Goring, 2001).The pastoral, ‘cottage’ realm made way for the first wave of human urbanisation and worker alienation.With its factory system, the growth of cities, quick wealth to be had, keen competition, increased migration, and shifting of social classes, the industrial revolution and its aftermath gave a whole new body of material for writers to report and interpret.Each issue is also a valuable bibliographic resource. Recent issues have included essays on Jack London and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.


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