Historical realism


Historical realism

Historical realism requires the writer’s critical knowledge of the historicist who has a different interpretation of the historical events. Hegel’s dialectical theory affected many thinkers concerned with social issues16. Both realist and modernist writers wanted to reflect the very changes in their societies in their own ways. In that way, history is of great deal to literature and many literary artists preoccupied themselves with historical materials. In the treatment of history, realist writers have accused society, like what the naturalists did, of being the responsible of the confusion and contradiction in which their heroes, often typical for suffering individuals who struggle against the mainstream ideas and wrong, or at least new, beliefs, find themselves. They show us both the environment, factors that affect people and values that dominate the very spirits of the individuals and picture us a typical end they drag themselves to out of their free will which has been affected by what they see and what they come to believe in causing new emergent ideologies and believes that evoke new social formation and raise contradictions as a result of the hegemonic behaviours of the dominant class over the subservient one. Moreover, literary works tend to reflect a specific historical moment that is of great significance to the writer or the world in which he lives.

Wilfred L. Guerin, along with others, as an explanation of what has been said, states that:

Although the historical-biographical approach has been evolving over many years, its basic tenets are perhaps most clearly articulated in the writings of the nineteenth-century French critic H. A. Taine, whose phrase race, milieu, et moment, elaborated in his "History of English Literature", bespeaks a heredity and environmental determinism. Put simply, this approach sees a literary work chiefly, if not exclusively, as a reflection of its author’s life and times or the life and times of the characters in the work.17
Far from reflecting what happened to the coming generation, historical novel, which is the best emblem of historical realism, is considered to be good only on the basis of its truth as mentioned in the Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory "though writing fiction, the good historical novelist reaches his or her chosen period thoroughly and strives for verisimilitude".18. Examples of historical novelists are: Balzac, Stendhal and Thomas Mann in Europe, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy in Britain.

In his novel "Le Rouge et le Noire", Standhal provides "an accurate and detailed knowledge of the political situation, the social stratification, and the economic circumstances of a perfectly definite historical moment, namely, that in which France found itself just before the July Revolution..."19 to most of his scenes in order to make them comprehensible and also The characters, attitudes, and relationships of the dramatis personae, then, are very closely connected with contemporary historical circumstances; contemporary political and social conditions are woven into the action in a manner more detailed and more real than had been exhibited in any earlier novel, and indeed in any works of literary art except those expressly purporting to be politico-satirical, tracts.20 And we can notice, in most of his novels, that “the element of current history and politics is too heavily emphasised...”21

Realism is a historical product, because far from the writers’ talent for writing they need to be influenced by a cause and pushed by surrounding factors that lead to their creative production. Since it is so, they base their works on a real, truthful and accurate event in addition to involving their ideologies and own comments to give the work a power and not just reduce it to a documentary act of historical recording. Its origin was in French where writers were influenced by the socio-historical changes that took place due to the emerged scientific discoveries, industrial revolution, the rising intellectuality and the search for wider knowledge in every field in life.

References

*Auerbach, Erich. "Mimesis", trans. William R. Trask, (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1953).
*Cuddo, J. A. "Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory", (London: Penguin Group, 1977).
*Eagelton, Terry. "Marxism and Literary Criticism" (London: Methuen & Co Ltd, 1976).
*Guerin, Wilfred L, Earle Labor, Lee Morgan, Jeanne C. Reesman and John R. Willingham, eds. "A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature", 3rd ed (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992).
*Heath, Stephen. 'Realism, Modernism, and "language-consciousness"', in "Realism in European Literature: Essays in Honour of J. P. Stern", ed. Nicholas Boyle and Martin Swales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).
*Lukacs, George. "The Meaning of Contemporary Realism", trans. John and Necke Mander, (London: Merlin Press, 1963).
*Lukacs, George. "Studies in European Realism", trans. Edith Bone, (London: The Merlin Press, 1972).
*Microsoft® Encarta® 2007. © 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation.
*Nagel, James and Tom Quirk, eds. "The Portable: American Realism Reader", (United States of America: The Penguin Books, 1997).
*Watt, Ian. "The Rise of The Novel" (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books/Chatto& Windus, 1957).
*Wright, Andrew. "Fictional Discourse and Historical Space". (Hampshire: The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1987).


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Realism in the Balance — is a 1938 essay by Georg Lukács in which he defends the traditional realism of authors like Thomas Mann in the face of rising Modernist movements, such as Expressionism, Surrealism, and Naturalism. Practitioners of these movements, such as James… …   Wikipedia

  • REALISM —    Historical authenticity refers to how closely a director attempts to replicate the historical details of the film’s period. Thus, authenticity is often superficial. Realism, on the other hand, refers to how closely a director interprets life.… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • realism — /ree euh liz euhm/, n. 1. interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc. 2. the tendency to view or represent things as they really are. 3. Fine Arts. a. treatment of forms, colors, space, etc …   Universalium

  • realism — Synonyms and related words: Marxism, absolute realism, animalism, artlessness, atomism, authenticity, behaviorism, bona fideness, commonsense realism, dialectical materialism, down to earthness, earthiness, earthliness, empiricism,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • HISTORICAL AUTHENTICITY —    From the time of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show to the present, the relationship between dramatic presentations and the facts of the historical West has been problematic. Westerns in cinema have been around for far longer than the historical… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL STUDIES — General Theatre Studies Balio, Tino, and Lee Norvelle. The History of the National Theatre Conference. The National Theatre Conference, 1968. Bernheim, Alfred L. The Business of the Theatre: An Economic History of the American Theatre, 1750 1932 …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Magic realism — or magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction [1] in which magical elements blend with the real world. The story explains these magical elements as real occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the real and… …   Wikipedia

  • socialist realism — a state approved artistic or literary style in some socialist countries, as the U.S.S.R., that characteristically celebrates an idealized vision of the life and industriousness of the workers. Also, Socialist Realism. [1930 35] * * * Officially… …   Universalium

  • Philosophical realism — Contemporary philosophical realism is the belief that our reality, or some aspect of it, is ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc. Realism may be spoken of with respect to other minds, the past,… …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist realism — is a teleologically oriented style of realistic art which has as its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism. Although related, it should not be confused with social realism, a type of art that realistically depicts… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.