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Abstract only
Series: Beginnings
Author: Steven Earnshaw

Terms used to describe artistic practices have different meanings from their common usage, but 'realism' as an aesthetic idea cannot be too far removed from the way we would talk about something 'real'. This book explores the artistry and aesthetics of realist literature, along with the assumptions of realist literature. It examines the different ways in which theorists, critics and philosophers conceptualise 'realism'. The book argues that a 'realist' sensibility is the ground on which other modes of literature often exist. It considers verisimilitude that is associated with the complexity of realism, describing the use of realism in two ways: capital 'R' and small 'r'. A set of realist novels is used to explore preliminary definition of realism. The STOP and THINK section lists some points to consider when thinking about realist works. The book looks at the characteristics of the Realist novel. It deals with the objections raised in discussions of Realism, from the Realist period and twentieth- and twenty-first century criticisms. The book provides information on the novel genre, language that characterises Realism, and selection of novel material. It looks at crucial elements such as stage design, and a technical feature often overlooked, the aside, something which seems non-realistic, and which might offer another view on Realism. The book talks about some writers who straddled both periods from the 1880s and 1890s onwards, until the 1920s/1930s, gradually moved away from Realism to modernism. Literary realism, and Aristotle's and Plato's works in relation to realism are also discussed.

Steven Earnshaw

Introduction In this chapter I aim to give a sense of some of the most important critical work on literary realism from the mid-twentieth century to the present. The field is complex, contributing no doubt to the belief that realism is a ‘slippery’ term, and there can be no attempt here to be comprehensive. I begin by giving a sketch of the different channels of thought and arguments, and also place them in relation to the discussion on the preceding pages. One aspect that will emerge as significant, and which has not been quite so apparent as yet, is the

in Beginning realism
Steven Earnshaw

The reader of realism naturally focuses on content, not style. (Spector in Bloom 1987 : 231) I have made repeated reference to the importance of language in discussions of realism, and in this chapter we look at the different ways in which language is conceptualised in relation to discussion of realism. As I pointed out at the end of Chapter 8 , such a discussion cuts across both literary critical concerns and philosophy. The title ‘The language of Realism’ is not intended to suggest that there is a single aspect to the use of language in realism, but

in Beginning realism
Steven Earnshaw

Philosophy and the realist impulse: Aristotle and Plato As consistently registered in this book, there has been an ever-present realist impulse in literature and art, and the argument has been that in the nineteenth century this combined with other factors to produce the self-conscious Realist aesthetic. Among those factors philosophical and scientific ideas played a large part, although we should also note that philosophy of art prior to this period also advocated versions of realism. However, it is worth pointing out that the term often taken as synonymous

in Beginning realism
Abstract only
Steven Earnshaw

Ground rules Realism should be easy. It is whatever is real, which we do not need to be told because we already know it: we live it every day of our lives. We all live in the real world, and nobody can tell us any different. We might need help with other ‘isms’ when studying literature or the arts – Romanticism, Surrealism, Modernism, Postmodernism, for instance, require some kind of explanation – but surely not an ‘ism’ which sounds as if it is based on our very existence. We may be aware that terms used to describe artistic practices have different meanings

in Beginning realism
Abstract only
Steven Earnshaw

For the theatre must not be ‘realistic’ (Guillaume Apollinaire) drama is no mere setting up of the camera to nature … (George Bernard Shaw) ‘Cup-and-saucer’ Realism versus melodrama In turning to drama it is important to recognise that concentrating on the textual aspect alone would give us only a limited insight into its relationship with literary Realism. In this chapter, therefore, as well as the texts themselves, I will look at other crucial elements such as stage design, and a technical feature often overlooked – the aside – something which

in Beginning realism
Steven Earnshaw

Some of the objections to Realism are variations on a theme, and others, such as those found in the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, are new(ish). The objections might be quite specific, for example, the way that critics and theorists talk about the type of language or prose style that characterises Realism, or at a much broader level, for example, objections to the claim that reality can be faithfully copied. Other objections take a different tack, such as the idea that Realism itself is nothing new, that it is no

in Beginning realism
Steven Earnshaw

Attenuated modernism: realism in the 1930s and 1950s The narrative thus far in relation to Realism and fiction goes something like this. Realism gains hold as a dominant aesthetic some time in the middle of the nineteenth century, partly as a reaction against Romanticism, partly as a response to the perceived issues of the age and the need for a socially-responsive and responsible medium, partly as a continuance of the development of the novel form, and partly as a response to scientific developments and thought. Realism has two distinct but related forms in

in Beginning realism

This book traces discussions about international relations from the middle ages up to the present times. It presents central concepts in historical context and shows how ancient ideas still affect the way we perceive world politics. It discusses medieval theologians like Augustine and Aquinas whose rules of war are still in use. It presents Renaissance humanists like Machiavelli and Bodin who developed our understanding of state sovereignty. It argues that Enlightenment philosophers like Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau laid the basis for the modern analyses of International Relations (IR). Later thinkers followed up with balance-of-power models, perpetual-peace projects and theories of exploitation as well as peaceful interdependence. Classic IR theories have then been steadily refined by later thinkers – from Marx, Mackinder and Morgenthau to Waltz, Wallerstein and Wendt.

The book shows that core ideas of IR have been shaped by major events in the past and that they have often reflected the concerns of the great powers. It also shows that the most basic ideas in the field have remained remarkably constant over the centuries.

Abstract only
Steven Earnshaw

Is it artistically strong? Is it good as a picture? There was a time when I might have written in this way with a declared social object. That is all gone by. I have no longer a spark of social enthusiasm. Art is all I now care for, and as art I wish my work to be judged. (Gissing, 1930 , The Unclassed ) As a method, realism is a complete failure. (Oscar Wilde, 1891, ‘The Decay of Lying’) From Realism to modernism The group of writers that we have focused on in previous chapters regarded themselves as living in a new age which needed a new kind of

in Beginning realism