Steven Earnshaw
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As a way of thinking about the complexity of realism, this chapter considers verisimilitude that is associated with it. There is no one element that defines literary realism; it is a mixture of philosophical tendencies, aesthetic aims and literary techniques. The chapter suggests the main characteristics of each in relation to Realism. The lack of significant theoretical work on realism in England is put down to a couple of reasons, which the chapter deals with briefly. The chapter also suggests a number of reasons for studying literary realism. To make things manageable at the start, as well as helping to boost clarity, a 'mini-canon' of Realist novels is used to explore preliminary definition of Realism. STOP and THINK sections in the chapter lists some points to consider when thinking about realist works, particularly novels.

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