Featuring the results of a five-year Leverhulme International Research Network grant project, this 800-page collaborative volume on “Realism” represents the most recent publication within the ICLA’s CHLEL series (Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages).
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. Tracing the manifold ways in which these paradigms are developed, discussed and contested across time, space, cultures and media, this first volume tackles in its five core essays and twenty-five case studies 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.