Steven Earnshaw
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Problems in defining the Realist novel
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This chapter deals with a number of the objections raised in discussions of Realism, from the Realist period and twentieth- and twenty-first century criticisms. It provides information on the novel genre, language that characterises Realism, and selection of novel material. It is poetry that often lays claim to 'the spiritual' and the symbolic mode of representation, as opposed to the visible commonplaces of the Realist novel. However, it does lead us into a related issue concerned with the Realist novel: 'the bigger picture'. The discussion of mimesis leads on to consideration of a related term that is conflated with Realism: 'realistic'. The problem with use of individuals, type and stereotype within realism are covered. The chapter considers the figure of 'the fallen woman' as she appears in Realist novels to illustrate the objection. STOP and THINK sections list questions to help readers understand the nineteenth-century Realist aesthetic and Realist works.

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