Steven Earnshaw
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The nineteenth-century Realist novel: two principles
in Beginning realism
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The Realist novel presents stories, characters and settings that are similar to those commonly found in the contemporary everyday world. This chapter looks at the characteristics of the Realist novel and suggests reasons why Realism dominates art in the nineteenth-century by considering two principles. There were numerous claims in the nineteenth century that the aim of art should be to represent the world faithfully, and this can be taken as the first principle of Realism: the faithful copy. The second principle is that it should deal with the contemporary 'here and now'. The chapter provides information on the factors contributing to the emphasis on contemporary reality, namely the consequences of industrialization, humanism, the growing authority of science, and the development of the social sciences. A STOP and THINK section in the chapter helps readers to compare their thoughts with the possible responses provided to questions on realism.

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