Landscapes of Realism

Rethinking literary realism in comparative perspectives

2 vols.set

ISBN 9789027211668 | EUR 266.00 | USD 399.00
Few literary phenomena are as elusive and yet as persistent as realism. While it responds to the perennial impulse to use literature to reflect on experience, it also designates a specific set of literary and artistic practices that emerged in response to Western modernity. Landscapes of Realism is a two-volume collaborative interdisciplinary exploration of this vast territory, bringing together leading-edge new criticism on the realist paradigms that were first articulated in nineteenth-century Europe but have since gone on globally to transform the literary landscape. More than fifty scholars trace the manifold ways in which these paradigms are developed, discussed and contested across time, space, cultures and media from precursors in the late eighteenth century through to the present.
Volume I maps realism in terms of the ideas and debates about realism, the literary-historical routes into realism within and across languages, realism’s explorations of time and space, the rereading of nineteenth-century realism as a set of literary playing fields in motion, and the productive transformations of literary realism from 1900 to the present. The five core essays and twenty-five case studies tackle such questions as why realism emerged when it did, why and how it developed such a transformative dynamic across languages, to what extent realist poetics remain central to art and popular culture after 1900, and how generally to reassess realism from a twenty-first-century comparative perspective.
Volume II shows in its four core essays and twenty-four case studies four major pathways through the landscapes of realism: The psychological pathways focusing on new approaches to emotion and memory, the referential pathways highlighting the role of the materiality of objects and bodies, the formal pathways demonstrating the dynamics of formal experiments, also in relation to new publication venues, and the geographical pathways exploring the worlding of realism through the encounters between European and non-European languages from the nineteenth century to the present. Across the chapters literature is placed in the larger media landscape of music, film and other visual media and more recent media cross-overs.
Together, the two volumes of Landscapes of Realism offer an innovative analysis of modern realism from its inception in nineteenth-century Europe as a response to the rise of Western modernity until its transformations in today’s globalized world. Building on a rigorous comparative and collaborative methodology, they explore realism as it intersects with other media and engages in dialogues with literary traditions across the world. Sensitive to the changing historical and cultural contexts, both volumes follow the transformative paths of modern realism from the eighteenth century to its global proliferation in multicultural and multilingual cultural environments of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through detailed readings of literary texts in multiple European and non-European languages together with the numerous passionate cultural and theoretical debates on realism, Landscapes of Realism shows the persistent and continued vitality of realism as a dynamic and experimental literary practice.
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