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Literary realism is a
literary genre A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fiction Literary fiction is a term used in the book-trade to distinguish novels that are regarded ...
, part of the broader realism in arts, that attempts to represent subject-matter truthfully, avoiding speculative fiction and supernatural elements. It originated with the realist art movement that began with mid- nineteenth-century French literature (
Stendhal Marie-Henri Beyle (; 23 January 1783 – 23 March 1842), better known by his pen name Stendhal (, ; ), was a 19th-century French writer. Best known for the novels ''Le Rouge et le Noir'' (''The Red and the Black'', 1830) and ''La Chartreuse de Pa ...

Stendhal
) and Russian literature (
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (; rus, links=no, Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкинIn Pushkin's day, his name was written ., r=Aleksándr Sergéyevich Púshkin, p=ɐlʲɪkˈsandr sʲɪrˈɡʲe(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn, a=ru ...
). Literary realism attempts to represent familiar things as they are. Realist authors chose to depict everyday and banal activities and experiences.


Background

Broadly defined as "the representation of reality", realism in the arts is the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without
artificiality Artificiality (the state of being artificial or man-made) is the state of being the product of intentional human manufacture, rather than occurring naturally through processes not involving or requiring human activity. Connotations Artificiality o ...
and avoiding artistic conventions, as well as implausible, exotic and supernatural elements. Realism has been prevalent in the arts at many periods, and is in large part a matter of technique and training, and the avoidance of stylization. In the visual arts, illusionistic realism is the accurate depiction of lifeforms, perspective, and the details of light and colour. Realist works of art may emphasize the ugly or sordid, such as works of
social realism Social realism is the term used for work produced by painters, printmakers, photographers, writers and filmmakers that aims to draw attention to the real socio-political conditions of the working class as a means to critique the power structures ...
, regionalism, or
kitchen sink realism Kitchen sink realism (or kitchen sink drama) is a British cultural movement that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s in theatre, art, novels, film and television plays, whose protagonists usually could be described as " angry young men" w ...
. There have been various realism movements in the arts, such as the
opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a s ...

opera
style of
verismo In opera, ''verismo'' (, from , meaning "true") was a post-Romantic operatic tradition associated with Italian composers such as Pietro Mascagni, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Umberto Giordano, Francesco Cilea and Giacomo Puccini. ''Verismo'' as an operati ...
, literary realism,
theatrical realismRealism in the theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, ...
and Italian neorealist cinema. The
realism art movement Realism, Realistic, or Realists may refer to: In the arts *Realism (arts) Realism in the arts is generally the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality and avoiding speculative fiction and fantasy literature, su ...
in painting began in France in the 1850s, after the
1848 Revolution The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Springtime of the Peoples or the Springtime of Nations, were a series of political upheaval A political revolution, in the Trotskyist Trotskyism is the political ideology and branch o ...
. The realist painters rejected
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
, which had come to dominate French literature and art, with roots in the late 18th century. Realism as a movement in literature was a post-1848 phenomenon, according to its first theorist Jules-Français Champfleury. It aims to reproduce "
objective reality In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, lan ...
", and focused on showing everyday, quotidian activities and life, primarily among the middle or lower class society, without romantic idealization or dramatization. It may be regarded as the general attempt to depict subjects as they are considered to exist in third person
objective reality In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, lan ...
, without embellishment or interpretation and "in accordance with secular,
empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence is of central importance to the sciences and ...
rules." As such, the approach inherently implies a belief that such
reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only imaginary Imaginary may refer to: * Imaginary (sociology), a concept in sociology * The Imaginary (psychoanalysis), a concept by ...

reality
is
ontological Ontology is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Ph ...
ly independent of man's conceptual schemes, linguistic practices and beliefs, and thus can be known (or knowable) to the artist, who can in turn represent this 'reality' faithfully. As literary critic
Ian Watt Ian Watt (9 March 1917 – 13 December 1999) was a literary critic, literary historian and professor of English at Stanford University , mottoeng = "The wind of freedom blows" , type = Private university, Private research university , academ ...
states in ''The Rise of the Novel'', modern realism "begins from the position that truth can be discovered by the individual through the senses" and as such "it has its origins in
Descartes
Descartes
and
Locke
Locke
, and received its first full formulation by
Thomas Reid Thomas Reid (; 7 May ( O.S. 26 April) 1710 – 7 October 1796) was a religiously trained Scottish philosopher. He was the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense and played an integral role in the Scottish Enlightenment. In 1783 he wa ...

Thomas Reid
in the middle of the eighteenth century." In the Introduction to ''The Human Comedy'' (1842) Balzac "claims that poetic creation and scientific creation are closely related activities, manifesting the tendency of realists towards taking over scientific methods". The artists of realism used the achievements of contemporary science, the strictness and precision of the scientific method, in order to understand reality. The positivist spirit in science presupposes feeling contempt towards metaphysics, the cult of the fact, experiment and proof, confidence in science and the progress that it brings, as well as striving to give a scientific form to studying social and moral phenomena." In the late 18th century
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
was a revolt against the aristocratic social and political norms of the previous Age of Reason and a reaction against the scientific
rationalization Rationalization may refer to: * Rationalization (economics), an attempt to change an ''ad hoc'' workflow into one based on published rules; also, jargon for a reduction in staff * Rationalisation (mathematics), the process of removing a square root ...
of nature found in the dominant philosophy of the 18th century, as well as a reaction to the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education and the
natural sciences Natural science is a Branches of science, branch of science concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of Phenomenon, natural phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. Mechanisms such as peer ...
. 19th-century realism was in its turn a reaction to Romanticism, and for this reason it is also commonly derogatorily referred as traditional or "bourgeois realism". However, not all writers of
Victorian literature Victorian literature refers to English literature This article is focused on English-language literature rather than the literature of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It ...
produced works of realism. The rigidities, conventions, and other limitations of
Victorian Victorian or Victorians may refer to: 19th century * Victorian era, British history during Queen Victoria's 19th-century reign ** Victorian architecture ** Victorian house ** Victorian decorative arts ** Victorian fashion ** Victorian literature ...
realism prompted in their turn the revolt of
modernism Modernism is both a philosophical movement A philosophical movement refers to the phenomenon defined by a group of philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and ...
. Starting around 1900, the driving motive of modernist literature was the criticism of the 19th-century bourgeois social order and world view, which was countered with an antirationalist, antirealist and antibourgeois program.
John Barth John Simmons Barth (; born May 27, 1930) is an American writer who is best known for his postmodernist Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is th ...
(1979) ''
The Literature of Replenishment''The Literature of Exhaustion'' is a 1967 essay by the American novelist John Barth sometimes considered to be the manifesto A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, p ...
'', later republished in '' The Friday Book' '(1984).
Gerald Graff (1975) ''Babbitt at the Abyss: The Social Context of Postmodern. American Fiction'',
TriQuarterly ''TriQuarterly'' is a name shared by an American literary magazine A literary magazine is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, p ...
, No. 33 (Spring 1975), pp. 307-37; reprinted in Putz and Freese, eds., Postmodernism and American Literature.
Gerald Graff (1973) ''The Myth of the Postmodernist Breakthrough'',
TriQuarterly ''TriQuarterly'' is a name shared by an American literary magazine A literary magazine is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, p ...
, 26 (Winter, 1973) 383-417; rept in ''The Novel Today: Contemporary Writers on Modern Fiction Malcolm Bradbury'', ed., (London: Fontana, 1977); reprinted in Proza Nowa Amerykanska, ed., Szice Krytyczne (Warsaw, Poland, 1984); reprinted in ''Postmodernism in American Literature: A Critical Anthology'', Manfred Putz and Peter Freese, eds., (Darmstadt: Thesen Verlag, 1984), 58-81.


Sub-Genres of Literary Realism


Social Realism

Social Realism Social realism is the term used for work produced by painters, printmakers, photographers, writers and filmmakers that aims to draw attention to the real socio-political conditions of the working class as a means to critique the power structures ...
is an international art movement that includes the work of painters, printmakers, photographers and filmmakers who draw attention to the everyday conditions of the working classes and the poor, and who are critical of the social structures that maintain these conditions. While the movement's artistic styles vary from nation to nation, it almost always uses a form of descriptive or critical realism.
Kitchen sink realism Kitchen sink realism (or kitchen sink drama) is a British cultural movement that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s in theatre, art, novels, film and television plays, whose protagonists usually could be described as " angry young men" w ...
(or kitchen sink drama) is a term coined to describe a
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
cultural movement that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s in
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The p ...

theatre
,
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...

art
,
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...

novel
s,
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...

film
and
television play A television play is a television programming genre which is a live drama performance broadcast from the television studio or, later, put on the tape. The term "television play" is a partial misnomer. Although the earliest works were marked by ...
s, which used a style of
social realism Social realism is the term used for work produced by painters, printmakers, photographers, writers and filmmakers that aims to draw attention to the real socio-political conditions of the working class as a means to critique the power structures ...
. Its protagonists usually could be described as angry young men, and it often depicted the domestic situations of working-class Britons living in cramped rented accommodation and spending their off-hours drinking in grimy
pub A pub (short for public house) is an establishment licensed to serve alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a sub ...

pub
s, to explore social issues and political controversies. The films, plays and novels employing this style are set frequently in poorer industrial areas in the
North of England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the second most northern area of Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an ar ...
, and use the rough-hewn speaking
accentAccent may refer to: Speech and language * Accent (sociolinguistics), way of pronunciation particular to a speaker or group of speakers * Accent (phonetics), prominence given to a particular syllable in a word, or a word in a phrase ** Pitch accen ...
s and
slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
heard in those regions. The film ''
It Always Rains on Sunday ''It Always Rains on Sunday'' is a 1947 British film adaptation of Arthur La Bern's novel by the same name, directed by Robert Hamer Robert Hamer (31 March 1911 – 4 December 1963) was a British film director and screenwriter best known for ...
'' (1947) is a precursor of the genre, and the
John Osborne John James Osborne (12 December 1929 – 24 December 1994) was an English playwright, screenwriter and actor, known for his excoriating prose and intense critical stance towards the Establishment, established social and political norms. The suc ...

John Osborne
play ''
Look Back in Anger ''Look Back in Anger'' (1956) is a realist play written by John Osborne. It focuses on the life and marital struggles of an intelligent and educated but disaffected young man of working-class origin, Jimmy Porter, and his equally competent yet ...
'' (1956) is thought of as the first of the genre. The gritty of ''Look Back in Anger'', for example, takes place in a cramped, one-room flat in the
English Midlands The Midlands is a part of and a that broadly corresponds to the of the . The Midlands region is bordered by and . The Midlands were important in the of the 18th and 19th centuries. Two of the nine official are the and . , in the West Mid ...
. The conventions of the genre have continued into the 2000s, finding expression in such television shows as ''
Coronation Street ''Coronation Street'' is a British soap opera created by ITV Granada, Granada Television and shown on ITV (TV network), ITV since 1960. The programme centres around Coronation Street: a cobbled, terraced street in Weatherfield, a fictional tow ...
'' and ''
EastEnders ''EastEnders'' is a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and ...

EastEnders
''.Heilpern, John. ''John Osborne: The Many Lives of the Angry Young Man'', New York: Knopf, 2007. In art, "Kitchen Sink School" was a term used by critic
David Sylvester Anthony David Bernard Sylvester (21 September 1924 – 19 June 2001) was a British art critic An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating art. Their written critiques or reviews contribute to art crit ...
to describe painters who depicted
social realist Social realism is the term used for work produced by painters, printmakers, photographers, writers and filmmakers that aims to draw attention to the real socio-political conditions of the working class as a means to critique the power structure ...
–type scenes of domestic life.


Socialist Realism

Socialist realism Socialist realism is a style of idealized realistic art that was developed in the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It ...
is the official
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
art form that was institutionalized by
Joseph Stalin ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgians, Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power both as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952 ...
in 1934 and was later adopted by allied
Communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Communist
parties worldwide. This form of realism held that successful art depicts and glorifies the
proletariat The proletariat (; ) is the social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government A government is the system or group of p ...

proletariat
's struggle toward socialist progress. The Statute of the
Union of Soviet WritersUnion of Soviet Writers, USSR Union of Writers, or Soviet Union of Writers (russian: Союз писателей СССР, translit=Soyuz Sovetstikh Pisatelei) was a creative union of professional writers in the Soviet Union The Soviet Union, ...
in 1934 stated that socialist realism ::is the basic method of Soviet literature and literary criticism. It demands of the artist the truthful, historically concrete representation of reality in its revolutionary development. Moreover, the truthfulness and historical concreteness of the artistic representation of reality must be linked with the task of ideological transformation and education of workers in the spirit of socialism. The strict adherence to the above tenets, however, began to crumble after the death of Stalin when writers started expanding the limits of what is possible. However, the changes were gradual since the social realism tradition was so ingrained into the psyche of the Soviet literati that even dissidents followed the habits of this type of composition, rarely straying from its formal and ideological mold. The Soviet socialist realism did not exactly emerge on the very day it was promulgated in the Soviet Union in 1932 by way of a decree that abolished independent writers' organizations. This movement has been existing for at least fifteen years and was first seen during the
Bolshevik Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, federal socialist state in ...

Bolshevik Revolution
. The 1934 declaration only formalized its canonical formulation through the speeches of the
Andrei Zhdanov Andrei Alexandrovich Zhdanov ( rus, Андре́й Алекса́ндрович Жда́нов, p=ɐnˈdrej ɐlʲɪˈksandrəvʲɪtɕ ˈʐdanəf; – 31 August 1948) was a Soviet Communist Party leader, former academic of theology, and cultural i ...

Andrei Zhdanov
, the representative of the Party's Central Committee. The official definition of social realism has been criticized for its conflicting framework. While the concept itself is simple, discerning scholars struggle in reconciling its elements. According to Peter Kenez, "it was impossible to reconcile the teleological requirement with realistic presentation," further stressing that "the world could either be depicted as it was or as it should be according to theory, but the two are obviously not the same."


Naturalism

Naturalism was a literary movement or tendency from the 1880s to 1930s that used detailed
realism Realism, Realistic, or Realists may refer to: In the arts *Realism (arts), the general attempt to depict subjects truthfully in different forms of the arts Arts movements related to realism include: *Classical Realism *Literary realism, a movem ...
to suggest that social conditions,
heredity Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, the offspring cell (biology), cells or or ...

heredity
, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character. It was a mainly unorganized
literary movement Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express ...
that sought to depict believable , as opposed to such movements as
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
or
Surrealism Surrealism was a cultural movement A cultural movement is a change in the way a number of different disciplines approach their work. This embodies all art forms, the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") ...

Surrealism
, in which subjects may receive highly symbolic, idealistic or even supernatural treatment. Naturalism was an outgrowth of literary realism, influenced by
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...

Charles Darwin
's theory of evolution. Williams, Raymond. 1976. ''Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society''. London: Fontana, 1988, p. 217. . Whereas realism seeks only to describe subjects as they really are, naturalism also attempts to determine "scientifically" the underlying forces (e.g., the environment or heredity) influencing the actions of its subjects. Naturalistic works often include supposed sordid subject matter, for example,
Émile Zola Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (, also , ; 2 April 184029 September 1902) was a French novelist, journalist, playwright, the best-known practitioner of the literary school of Naturalism (literature), naturalism, and an important contributo ...

Émile Zola
's frank treatment of
sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves Human sexual activity, sexually. This involves biological, erotic, Physical intimacy, physical, Emotional intimacy, emotional, social, or Spirituality, spiritual feelings and ...
, as well as a pervasive pessimism. Naturalistic works tend to focus on the darker aspects of life, including poverty,
racism Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hie ...

racism
, violence, prejudice, disease, corruption,
prostitution Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality Human sexualit ...
, and filth. As a result, naturalistic writers were frequently criticized for focusing too much on human vice and misery.


Realism in the Novel


Australia

In the early nineteenth century, there was growing impetus to establish an Australian culture that was separate from its English Colonial beginnings. Common artistic motifs and characters that were represented in Australian realism were the
Australian Outback The Outback is a vast, sparsely populated area of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the isl ...

Australian Outback
, known simply as "the bush", in its harsh and volatile beauty, the British settlers, the
Indigenous Australian Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continen ...
, the
squatter Squatting is the action of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use. The United Nations The United Nations (UN) ...

squatter
and the digger–although some of these bordered into a more
myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
ic territory in much of Australia's art scene. A significant portion of Australia's early realism was a rejection of, according to what the '' Sydney Bulletin'' called in 1881 a "romantic identity" of the country. Most of the earliest writing in the colony was not literature in the most recent international sense, but rather journals and documentations of expeditions and environments, although literary style and preconceptions entered into the journal writing. Oftentimes in early Australian literature, romanticism and realism co-existed, as exemplified by
Joseph Furphy Joseph Furphy (Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom ...
's '' Such Is Life'' (1897)–a fictional account of the life of rural dwellers, including bullock drivers, squatters and itinerant travellers, in southern
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
and
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
, during the 1880s.
Catherine Helen Spence Catherine Helen Spence (31 October 1825 – 3 April 1910) was a Scottish-born Australian author, teacher, journalist, politician, leading suffragist, and Georgist Georgism, also called in modern times geoism and known historically as the sin ...

Catherine Helen Spence
's ''Clara Morison'' (1854), which detailed a Scottish woman's immigration to
Adelaide, South Australia Adelaide ( ) is the List of Australian capital cities, capital city of the state of South Australia, and the List of cities in Australia by population, fifth-most populous city of Australia. The demonym is used to denote the city and the resi ...
, in a time when many people were leaving the freely settled state of South Australia to claim fortunes in the gold rushes of Victoria and New South Wales. The burgeoning literary concept that Australia was an extension of another, more distant country, was beginning to infiltrate into writing: "
hose A hose is a flexible hollow tube (fluid conveyance), tube designed to carry fluids from one location to another. Hoses are also sometimes called ''Pipe (fluid conveyance), pipes'' (the word ''pipe'' usually refers to a rigid tube, whereas a hose ...
who have at last understood the significance of Australian history as a transplanting of stocks and the sending down of roots in a new soil".
Henry Handel Richardson Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson (3 January 187020 March 1946), known by her pen name Henry Handel Richardson, was an Australian author. Life Born in East Melbourne, Victoria East Melbourne is an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia, 2& ...
, author of post-
Federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, ...
novels such as '' Maurice Guest'' (1908) and ''
The Getting of Wisdom ''The Getting of Wisdom'' is a novel by Australian novelist Henry Handel Richardson. It was first published in 1910, and has almost always been in print ever since. Plot introduction Henry Handel Richardson was the pseudonym of Ethel Florence L ...
'' (1910), was said to have been heavily influenced by French and Scandinavian realism. In the twentieth century, as the working-class community of
Sydney Sydney ( ; Dharug The Darug or Dharug people are an Aboriginal Australian people, who share strong ties of kinship and, in Colonial Australia, pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans, scattered througho ...

Sydney
proliferated, the focus was shifted from the bush archetype to a more urban, inner-city setting:
William Lane William Lane (6 September 1861 – 26 August 1917) was an English-born journalist, author, advocate of Australian labour movement, Australian labour politics and a Utopian socialism, utopian socialist ideologue. Lane was born in Bristol, Eng ...

William Lane
's ''The Working Man's Paradise'' (1892),
Christina Stead Image:(1)Christina Stead house Watsons Bay.jpg, 320px, House in Pacific Street, Watsons Bay, Sydney, where Stead lived 1911-1928 Christina Stead (17 July 190231 March 1983) was an Australian novelist and short-story writer acclaimed for her satiri ...
's '' Seven Poor Men of Sydney'' (1934) and Ruth Park's ''The Harp in the South'' (1948) all depicted the harsh, gritty reality of working class Sydney. Patrick White's novels ''Tree of Man'' (1955) and ''Voss'' (1957) fared particularly well and in 1973 White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. A new kind of literary realism emerged in the late twentieth century, helmed by Helen Garner's ''Monkey Grip (novel), Monkey Grip'' (1977) which revolutionised contemporary fiction in Australia, though it has since emerged that the novel was Dairy, diaristic and based on Garner's own experiences. ''Monkey Grip'' concerns itself with a single-mother living in a succession of Melbourne share-houses, as she navigates her increasingly obsessive relationship with a drug addict who drifts in and out of her life. A sub-set of realism emerged in Australia's literary scene known as "dirty realism", typically written by "new, young authors" who examined "gritty, dirty, real existences", of lower-income young people, whose lives revolve around a Nihilism, nihilistic pursuit of casual human sexuality, sex, recreational drug use and alcoholic beverage, alcohol, which are used to escape boredom. Examples of dirty-realism include Andrew McGahan's ''Praise'' (1992), Christos Tsiolkas's ''Loaded (novel), Loaded'' (1995), Justine Ettler's ''The River Ophelia'' (1995) and Brendan Cowell's ''How It Feels'' (2010), although many of these, including their predecessor ''Monkey Grip'', are now labelled with a genre coined in 1995 as "grunge lit".


United Kingdom

Ian Watt Ian Watt (9 March 1917 – 13 December 1999) was a literary critic, literary historian and professor of English at Stanford University , mottoeng = "The wind of freedom blows" , type = Private university, Private research university , academ ...
in ''The Rise of the Novel'' (1957) saw the novel as originating in the early 18th-century and he argued that the novel's 'novelty' was its 'formal realism': the idea 'that the novel is a full and authentic report of human experience'.Watt, I. (1963). ''The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding'', Harmondsworth: Penguin, p. 32. His examples are novelists Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding. Watt argued that the novel's concern with realistically described relations between ordinary individuals, ran parallel to the more general development of philosophical realism, middle-class economic individualism and Puritan individualism. He also claims that the form addressed the interests and capacities of the new middle-class reading public and the new book trade evolving in response to them. As tradesmen themselves, Defoe and Richardson had only to 'consult their own standards' to know that their work would appeal to a large audience. Later in the 19th century George Eliot's (1819–1880) ''Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life'' (1871–72), described by novelists Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language, is a work of realism. Through the voices and opinions of different characters the reader becomes aware of important issues of the day, including the Reform Bill of 1832, the beginnings of the railways, and the state of contemporary medical science. ''Middlemarch'' also shows the deeply reactionary mindset within a settled community facing the prospect of what to many is unwelcome social, political and technological change. While George Gissing (1857–1903), author of ''New Grub Street'' (1891), amongst many other works, has traditionally been viewed as a naturalist, mainly influenced by
Émile Zola Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (, also , ; 2 April 184029 September 1902) was a French novelist, journalist, playwright, the best-known practitioner of the literary school of Naturalism (literature), naturalism, and an important contributo ...

Émile Zola
, Jacob Korg has suggested that George Eliot was a greater influence. Other novelists, such as Arnold Bennett (1867–1931) and Anglo-Irishman George Moore (novelist), George Moore (1852–1933), consciously imitated the French realists. Bennett's most famous works are the ''The Clayhanger Family, Clayhanger'' trilogy (1910–18) and ''The Old Wives' Tale'' (1908). These books draw on his experience of life in the Staffordshire Potteries, an industrial area encompassing the six towns that now make up Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England. George Moore, whose most famous work is ''Esther Waters'' (1894), was also influenced by the Naturalism (literature), naturalism of Zola.


United States

William Dean Howells (1837–1920) was the first American author to bring American realism, a realist aesthetic to the literature of the United States. His stories of middle and upper class life set in the 1880s and 1890s are highly regarded among scholars of American fiction. His most popular novel, ''The Rise of Silas Lapham'' (1885), depicts a man who, ironically, falls from materialistic fortune by his own mistakes. Other early American realists include Samuel Clemens (1835–1910), better known by his pen name of Mark Twain, author of ''Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'' (1884), Stephen Crane (1871–1900), and Horatio Alger Jr. (1832–1899). Twain's style, based on vigorous, realistic, colloquial American speech, gave American writers a new appreciation of their national voice. Twain was the first major author to come from the interior of the country, and he captured its distinctive, humorous slang and iconoclasm. For Twain and other American writers of the late 19th century, realism was not merely a literary technique: It was a way of speaking truth and exploding worn-out conventions. Crane was primarily a journalist who also wrote fiction, essays, poetry, and plays. Crane saw life at its rawest, in slums and on battlefields. His haunting American Civil War, Civil War novel, ''The Red Badge of Courage'', was published to great acclaim in 1895, but he barely had time to bask in the attention before he died, at 28, having neglected his health. He has enjoyed continued success ever since—as a champion of the common man, a realist, and a symbolist. Crane's ''Maggie: A Girl of the Streets'' (1893), is one of the best, if not the earliest, naturalistic American novel. It is the harrowing story of a poor, sensitive young girl whose uneducated, alcoholic parents utterly fail her. In love, and eager to escape her violent home life, she allows herself to be seduced into living with a young man, who soon deserts her. When her self-righteous mother rejects her, Maggie becomes a prostitute to survive but soon dies. Crane's earthy subject matter and his objective, scientific style, devoid of moralizing, earmark Maggie as a naturalist work. Horatio Alger, Horatio Alger Jr. was a prolific 19th-century American author whose principal output was formulaic rags-to-riches juvenile novels that followed the adventures of bootblacks, newsboys, peddlers, buskers, and other impoverished children in their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of respectable middle-class security and comfort. His novels, of which ''Ragged Dick'' is a typical example, were hugely popular in their day. Other later American realists are: John Steinbeck, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Edith Wharton and Henry James.


Europe

Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) is the most prominent representative of 19th-century realism in fiction through the inclusion of specific detail and recurring characters. His ''La Comédie humaine'', a vast collection of nearly 100 novels, was the most ambitious scheme ever devised by a writer of fiction—nothing less than a complete contemporary history of his countrymen. Realism is also an important aspect of the works of Alexandre Dumas, fils (1824–1895). Many of the novels in this period, including Balzac's, were published in newspapers in serial (literature), serial form, and the immensely popular realist "roman feuilleton" tended to specialize in portraying the hidden side of urban life (crime, police spies, criminal slang), as in the novels of Eugène Sue. Similar tendencies appeared in the theatrical melodramas of the period and, in an even more lurid and gruesome light, in the Grand Guignol at the end of the century. Gustave Flaubert's (1821–1880) acclaimed novels ''Madame Bovary'' (1857), which reveals the tragic consequences of romanticism on the wife of a provincial doctor, and ''Sentimental Education'' (1869) represent perhaps the highest stages in the development of French realism. Flaubert also wrote other works in an entirely different style and his romanticism is apparent in the fantastic ''The Temptation of Saint Anthony (Flaubert), The Temptation of Saint Anthony'' (final version published 1874) and the baroque and exotic scenes of ancient Carthage in ''Salammbô (novel), Salammbô'' (1862). In German literature, 19th-century realism developed under the name of "Poetic Realism" or "Bourgeois Realism," and major figures include Theodor Fontane, Gustav Freytag, Gottfried Keller, Wilhelm Raabe, Adalbert Stifter, and Theodor Storm. In Italian literature, the realism genre developed a detached description of the social and economic conditions of people in their time and environment. Major figures of Italian Verismo (literature), Verismo include Luigi Capuana, Giovanni Verga, Federico De Roberto, Matilde Serao, Salvatore Di Giacomo, and Grazia Deledda, who in 1926 received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Later realist writers included Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Benito Pérez Galdós, Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, Leopoldo Alas (Clarín), José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, Machado de Assis, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Bolesław Prus and, in a sense,
Émile Zola Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (, also , ; 2 April 184029 September 1902) was a French novelist, journalist, playwright, the best-known practitioner of the literary school of Naturalism (literature), naturalism, and an important contributo ...

Émile Zola
, whose naturalism (literature), naturalism is often regarded as an offshoot of realism.


Realism in the Theatre

Theatrical realism was a general Art movement, movement in Nineteenth-century theatre, 19th-century theatre from the time period of 1870–1960 that developed a set of dramatic and theatrical Dramatic convention, conventions with the aim of bringing a greater fidelity of real life to texts and performances. Part of Realism (arts), a broader artistic movement, it shared many stylistic choices with Naturalism (theatre), naturalism, including a focus on everyday (middle-class) drama, ordinary speech, and dull settings. Realism and naturalism diverge chiefly on the degree of choice that characters have: while naturalism believes in the overall strength of external forces over internal decisions, realism asserts the power of the individual to choose (see ''A Doll's House''). Russia's first professional playwright, Aleksey Pisemsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy (''The Power of Darkness'' (1886)), began a tradition of psychological realism in Russia which culminated with the establishment of the Moscow Art Theatre by Constantin Stanislavski and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. Their ground-breaking productions of the plays of Anton Chekhov in turn influenced Maxim Gorky and Mikhail Bulgakov. Constantin Stanislavski, Stanislavski went on to develop his Stanislavski's 'system', 'system', a form of actor training that is particularly suited to psychological realism. 19th-century realism is closely connected to the development of modern drama, which, as Martin Harrison explains, "is usually said to have begun in the early 1870s" with the "middle-period" work of the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen's realistic drama in prose has been "enormously influential." In
opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a s ...

opera
, ''
verismo In opera, ''verismo'' (, from , meaning "true") was a post-Romantic operatic tradition associated with Italian composers such as Pietro Mascagni, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Umberto Giordano, Francesco Cilea and Giacomo Puccini. ''Verismo'' as an operati ...
'' refers to a post-Romantic Italian tradition that sought to incorporate the naturalism of Émile Zola and Henrik Ibsen. It included realistic – sometimes sordid or violent – depictions of contemporary everyday life, especially the life of the lower classes. In France in addition to melodramas, popular and bourgeois theater in the mid-century turned to realism in the "well-made" bourgeois farces of Eugène Marin Labiche and the moral dramas of Émile Augier.


Criticism

Critics of realism cite that depicting reality is not often realistic with some observers calling it "imaginary" or "project". This argument is based on the idea that we do not often get what is real correctly. To present reality, we draw on what is "real" according to how we remember it as well as how we experience it. However, remembered or experienced reality does not always correspond to what the truth is. Instead, we often obtain a distorted version of it that is only related to what is out there or how things really are. Realism is criticized for its supposed inability to address this challenge and such failure is seen as tantamount to complicity in a creating a process wherein "the artefactual nature of reality is overlooked or even concealed." According to Catherine Gallagher, realistic fiction invariably undermines, in practice, the ideology it purports to exemplify because if appearances were as self-sufficient, there would probably be no need for novels. This can be demonstrated in the literary naturalism's focus in the United States during the late nineteenth century on the larger forces that determine the lives of its characters as depicted in agricultural machines portrayed as immense and terrible, shredding "entangled" human bodies without compunction. The machines were used as a metaphor but it contributed to the perception that such narratives were more like myth than reality. There are also critics who fault realism in the way it supposedly defines itself as a reaction to the excesses of literary genres such as Romanticism and the Gothic – those that focus on the exotic, sentimental, and sensational narratives. Some scholars began to call this an impulse to contradict so that in the end, the limit that it imposes on itself leads to "either the representation of verifiable and objective truth or the merely relative, some partial, subjective truth, therefore no truth at all." There are also critics who cite the absence of a fixed definition. The argument is that there is no pure form of realism and the position that it is almost impossible to find literature that is not in fact realist, at least to some extent while, and that whenever one searches for pure realism, it vanishes. J. P. Stern, J.P. Stern countered this position when he maintained that this "looseness" or "untidiness" makes the term indispensable in common and literary discourse alike. Others also dismiss it as obvious and simple-minded while denying realistic aesthetic, branding as pretentious since it is considered mere Journalism, reportage, not art, and based on naïve metaphysics.


See also

* ''Chanson réaliste'' (realist song), a style of music which was directly influenced by realist literary movement in France * Verismo, an application of the tenets of realism to (especially late-romantic Italian) opera.


Notes


External links


Realism in American literature at the Literary Movements site"Victorian Realism – how real?"
on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time (BBC Radio 4), ''In Our Time'' featuring Philip Davis, A.N. Wilson and Dinah Birch {{Authority control Literary realism, Realism (art movement), . 19th-century literature, . 19th-century books, .Realism Realism