From the ‘true style’ to the ‘art-form of the bourgeoisie’
The origins, characteristics and theoretical foundation of the nineteenth-century French realist, and naturalist tradition
in Realist film theory and cinema
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This chapter sheds light on the origins and characteristics of nineteenth-century realism and naturalism, including the influence of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century determinist philosophical discourses in the writings of Buffon, Maupertuis, Condillac, Helvétius, Saint-Hilaire and Darwin. The philosophical discourse of the ‘true style’ was influenced in part by the ‘providential’ vision of ‘man’ and reality. The chapter further highlights how this determinist tradition influenced nineteenth-century French literary realism and naturalism, examining the distinctions between realism and naturalism, focusing on conceptions of representation and human agency within the naturalist movement. The study draws attention to the fact that the perspective on nineteenth-century realism rests on fundamental misconceptions concerning the historical role and character of the realist movement. The overall objective is to elaborate the French nineteenth-century tradition of ‘critical’ naturalist-realism, distinguish that tradition from more normative forms of realism, and establish its themes, stylistic devices and historical consequence.

Realist film theory and cinema

The nineteenth-century Lukácsian and intuitionist realist traditions


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