A Concise Companion to Realism

Overview

A Concise Companion to Realism offers a scholarly yet accessible introduction to realism as it has evolved since the 19th century. Comprising 17 newly-commissioned essays written by a distinguished group of contributors, including Slavoj Zizek and Fredric Jameson, this wide-ranging volume:

Provides the historical, cultural, intellectual, and literary contexts necessary to understand developments in realism

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Overview

A Concise Companion to Realism offers a scholarly yet accessible introduction to realism as it has evolved since the 19th century. Comprising 17 newly-commissioned essays written by a distinguished group of contributors, including Slavoj Zizek and Fredric Jameson, this wide-ranging volume:

Provides the historical, cultural, intellectual, and literary contexts necessary to understand developments in realism

Addresses the artistic mediums and technologies such as painting and film that have helped shape the way we perceive reality

Explores literary and pictorial sub-genres such as naturalism and socialist realism.

This new paperback edition features an essay by Terry Eagleton, entitled Fictions of the Real: 'All truth with malice in it'. Each section concludes with a short bibliography and a guide to further reading.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"All great works of art, literary and visual, tend to have some kind of enduring claim to realism. The excellent contributors to this volume investigate with energy and precision the many different epistemological, historical and theoretical issues which can arise from such claims, for the novel, journalism, painting, cinema and still photography. They write from many different points of view, with a wide historical perspective and through well chosen examples - but have been cleverly edited into dialogue with one another. The aims of naturalism, socialist realism and feminism, and the changes brought about by modernism, for example, are illuminatingly analysed. This is the way to make progress on any philosophical issue, and the reader will enjoy taking part in the debate to the end."
—Christopher Butler, University of Oxford
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Matthew Beaumont is Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature in the Department of English at University College, London. He is the author of Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England 1870-1900 (2005), and has edited Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward for Oxford World’s Classics.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Notes on Contributors x

Foreword Rachel Bowlby xiv

Acknowledgments xxii

Introduction: Reclaiming Realism Matthew Beaumont 1

1 Literary Realism Reconsidered: "The world in its length and breadth" George Levine 13

2 Realist Synthesis in the Nineteenth-Century Novel: "That unity which lies in the selection of our keenest consciousness" Simon Dentith 33

3 Space, Mobility, and the Novel: "The spirit of place is a great reality" Josephine McDonagh 50

4 Fictions of the Real: "All truth with malice in it" Terry Eagleton 68

5 Naturalism: "Dirt and horror pure and simple" Sally Ledger 86

6 Realism before and after Photography: "The fantastical form of a relation among things" Nancy Armstrong 102

7 The Realist Aesthetic in Painting: "Serious and committed, ironic and brutal, sincere and full of poetry" Andrew Hemingway 121

8 Interrupted Dialogues of Realism and Modernism: "The fact of new forms of life, already born and active" Esther Leslie 143

9 Socialist Realism: "To depict reality in its revolutionary development" Brandon Taylor 160

10 Realism, Modernism, and Photography: "At last, at last the mask has been torn away" John Roberts 176

11 Cinematic Realism: "A recreation of the world in its own image" Laura Marcus 195

12 The Current of Critical Irrealism: "A moonlit enchanted night" Michael Löwy 211

13 Psychoanalysis and the Lacanian Real: "Strange shapes of the unwarped primal world" Slavoj Zizek 225

14 Feminist Theory and the Return of the Real: "What we really want most out of realism..." Helen Small 242

15 Realism and Anti-Realism in Contemporary Philosophy: "What's truth got to do with it?" Christopher Norris 259

Afterword: A note on literary realism Fredric Jameson 279

Index 290

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