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16 - Nineteenth-century British critics of Realism

from IV - Later nineteenth-century developments: Realism, Naturalism, Symbolism and Decadence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2013

M. A. R. Habib
Affiliation:
Rutgers University, New Jersey
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Summary

The process of becoming an individual, in British Realism and in nineteenth-century critical views of it, is a complex combination of becoming a single, remarkable, apparently non-literary character through becoming a recognizable member of an actual, historical, social group. This is because, in the view of its nineteenth-century British critics, Realism is responsible for representing social and individual experience as it really occurs in the world outside the novel. The novelist must be true to her own experience of the word: a lack of such fidelity is a fictional sin of vast proportions in George Eliot's Realistic ethic. The Realistic novelist was something of a sociologist and news reporter, a chronicler of the present and the recent past, a commentator on the contemporary world. One major information technology that did develop alongside Realism held its prose counterpart to a high standard of empirical accuracy.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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