Coming to prominence with the nineteenth-century novel, literary realism has most often been associated with the insistence that art cannot turn away from the more sordid and harsh aspects of human existence. However, because realism is unavoidably tied up with the gnarly concept of 'reality' and 'the real', it has been one of the most widely debated terms in the New Critical Idiom series.This volume offers a clear, reader-friendly guide to debates around realism, examining:*ideas of realism in nineteenth-century French and British fiction*the twentieth-century formalist reaction against literature's status as 'truth'*realism as a democratic tool, or utopian form.This volume is vital reading for any student of literature, in particular those working on the realist novel.

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