Realism (Literary)

(3669 words)
  • Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi (University of Exeter)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

The History of Literary Realism

Realism is a comparatively old term that was first applied in the seventeenth-century to Dutch genre paintings of everyday life. It came by the 1850s to denote a genre predominantly related to the novel and an aesthetic sensibility uniting Romantic individualism with social determinism. Its earliest exponents were the French thinkers Jules Husson (1821-89), known as Champfleury, and Louis Edmond Duranty (1833-80) who defined its characteristics in essays published in the late 1840s and early 1850s which focused on the paintings of their contemporary Gustave Courbet (1819-77). Their critical arguments were political in origin and intention since Courbet's deliberately unglamorous paintings of …

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Hadjiafxendi, Kyriaki. "Realism (Literary)". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 December 2003
[, accessed 08 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Literary Genres and Modes