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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.

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The genre making of Restoration fiction
Author: Gerd Bayer

Novel horizons analyses how narrative prose fiction developed during the English Restoration. It argues that following the reopening of the theatres in 1660, generic changes within dramatic texts occasioned an intense debate within prologues and introductions. This discussion about the poetics of a genre was echoed in the paratextual material of prose fictions: in trans¬lators’ introductions, authorial prefaces, and other accompanying material. In the absence of an official poetics that defined prose fiction, paratexts ful¬filled this function and informed readers about the changing features of the budding genre. This study traces the piecemeal development of these generic boundaries and describes the generic competence of readers through the detailed analysis of paratexts and actual narrative prose fictions. Rather than trying to canonize individual Restoration novels, Novel horizons covers the surviving textual material widely, focusing on narrative prose fictions published between 1660 and 1710. Drawing on genre theories by Jacques Derrida and M.M. Bakhtin, the study follows an approach to genre that sees a textual corpus as an archive that projects into the future, thereby enabling later readers and writers to experiment with forms and themes. In addition to tracing the paratextual poetics of Restoration fiction, a substantial section of this book covers the state of the art of fiction-writing during the period. It discusses aspects such as character development, narrative point of view, and questions of fictionality and realism in order to describe how these features were first used in popular fiction at the time.

Steven Earnshaw

group of characteristic elements in works of literature. This chapter deals with a number of the objections that are raised in discussions of Realism, both from the Realist period and from twentieth- and twenty-first century criticisms. Although the chapter has sub-headings suggestive of quite discrete issues, there is a great deal of interdependency and overlap, which I would ask you to bear in mind throughout this chapter. Objections to the more diffuse term ‘realism’ are dealt with in Chapter 10 on philosophy. The novel genre The argument thus far has been

in Beginning realism
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Steven Earnshaw

, to blow a hair’s-breadth off The dust of the actual. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh , II, 476–83) The previous chapters have focused on the novel from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards as being at the forefront of literary Realism. Indeed, many critics and theorists regard discussion of literary realism as one related solely to the novel genre. However, Realism was such a dominant force in the nineteenth century that poetry and drama were obliged to respond to it. That this was the order of influence is repeatedly borne out by

in Beginning realism
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Enlightenment, automata, and the theatre of terror
Victor Sage

Garrick’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in Melmoth (Maturin 2000 :645, note 1). Maturin and Diderot thus independently share a self-conscious fictional heritage whose master trope is the theatre; this shapes the different questions they ask of the novel genre in a demonstrably common manner. References Alexander , P. (ed

in European Gothic
Steven Earnshaw

novelists provide a blueprint for the novel genre, a genre which is defined by realism and understood to find its fullest expression in the nineteenth century. Similarly, although Auerbach takes us all the way back to Homer, he too finds literary realism’s fullest realisation in the nineteenth century. As the reader will immediately see, that view of literary realism in this larger chronological context is one that has been followed by this book. Neither of these books directly engages in a sustained manner with literary realism in a political context, although it can

in Beginning realism
Steven Earnshaw

hard work. There is something about the form of the novel which easily accommodates the progress of the individual or individuals, and obviously its ability to represent the life and consciousness of an individual so well is largely down to its manipulation of narrative perspective. Conversely, the novel form has had difficulty in dealing with groups as groups . In other words, the novel genre can show groups from the outside as a collective, as a crowd, as the working classes often are thus represented in the nineteenth-century novel, or as a collection of

in Beginning realism
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Steven Earnshaw

? Realism: capital ‘R’ and small ‘r’ The term ‘realism’ tends to be used in two ways. The first use of the term identifies a literary-historical period, namely those years in the second half of the nineteenth century where there was significant production of a type of literature, which often identified itself as ‘realist’ (or ‘naturalist’), or which can be regarded as such. It is synonymous with the novel genre, and the key figures here are writers such as George Eliot, Anthony Trollope and Elizabeth Gaskell in England, and Flaubert and Zola in France. When referring to

in Beginning realism
Pleasure and the practised reader
Richard De Ritter

capable of autonomous judgement as well as properly literate and consequently willing and able to arrive at their own conclusions about what they had read’.13 The defence of female readers offered by Barbauld within The British Novelists is inseparable from the work’s primary aim: the legitimisation of the novel genre. Several critics have suggested that this was achieved in the second decade of the nineteenth century, as a result of the critical and commercial success of Walter Scott’s Waverley novels. In Ina Ferris’s words, Scott’s fiction ‘moved the novel out of the

in Imagining women readers, 1789–1820
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Avril Horner

between the two authors, one conventionally labelled as an atheist and Enlightenment thinker, the other as Protestant and Gothic, indicates a common legacy: ‘a self-conscious fictional heritage whose master trope is the theatre, which shapes the different questions they ask of the novel genre in a demonstrably common manner’ (p. 69). This particular reading of Melmoth the Wanderer also explains, in part

in European Gothic