To be specified published in:Landscapes of Realism: Rethinking literary realism in comparative perspectives. Volume I: Mapping realism
Edited by Dirk Göttsche, Rosa Mucignat and Robert Weninger
[Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages XXXII] 2021
► pp. 81–88
How real is realism?
Gérard de Nerval’s “bizarre arrangements of life”
The article examines the early history of the term ‘realism’ in nineteenth-century France and its unusual deployment in Gérard de Nerval’s narrative prose, where it signals the strange, dream-like character of certain experiences, in particular the oddity of common situations and feelings described by authors like Charles Dickens and Gustave Flaubert who were admired by many for their sincere, precise and comprehensive descriptions of social life. The multicolored depiction of common experiences, improvisation, and randomness that we find in Nerval’s works are also part of Flaubert’s realist practice; both give life to their narratives by emphasizing dreams, transitory impressions and fleeting sensations.
Keywords: Gérard de Nerval, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens, realism, strangeness, bizarre representation, sensations, randomness
Published online: 21 April 2021
Lamb, Virginia K.
Maupassant, Guy de
Nerval, Gérard de