Recent critical thought has begun to recognize realist fiction as a transnational medium that responds to capitalist permutations across time and space and, in doing so, is shot through with aesthetic possibility. The essays in this special issue reject the reflex to prejudge realist art based on dated assumptions about the European novel. They expand the category of realism to include examples from the realisms of late Victorian theater; postcolonial fiction from African, Egyptian, and Indian milieus; and photojournalistic experiments wrought in response to revolution in Latin America. What is constant throughout this collection is an insistence on realism's aesthetic flexibility, historical variability, and irreducibility to any single genre, period, technique, or national project. Realist art is both constitutively worlded (in taking the material world for its premise) and worlding (in making new ways of seeing, knowing, thinking, and being palpable to those worlds). After providing a brief survey of realism's critical reception and some postulates for future scholarship, this introduction lays out the arc of the special issue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory