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Literature/realism in novels and film


i looked at realism in novels and films with such simplicity but i know you can provide me with such a heightened explanation about realist form in the 2 mediums film and books ...again i need your help you're the best tue

Hello Val,

Well - I've already written a few paragraphs to you about realism in a previous answer:

Realism is a literary trend that began in the mid-19th century (i.e. around 1850). Before this point in time, it had not been safe for writers to describe things as they really were, because this would get the writers in trouble with the people in power; the king, the nobility or the rich in general. Because artists and writers have always known about social injustice, and how all of society is actually based on such injustice; on the rich exploiting the poor. This is why most writing from before this era were kept in very hard-to-decipher artistic and symbolical literary forms (such as allegory, a symbolical way of structuring a story which was common in almost all pre-realist literature).

But in the mid-19th century, social conditions improved enough for people to start being more clear and honest about their opinions of how society was structured. This is also the bourgeois age, when there is the separation of church and state, and old monarchies start losing power to the new parliaments, governed by bourgeois figures, elected by their peers in a democratic process. This then gives rise to the literary trend of realism, where writers can now write about real life in specific terms, without getting into too much trouble with the powers that be. They still have to be careful, though. They can't be to critical of the rulers of society, but they can at least start describing everyday life in great detail.

-- Beyond that, I can tell you that, to rephrase some of the above, realism was a response to a new social configuration: the rise of both the middle class and the working class as consumers of literature made it relevant and desireable for them to describe their own life experience in a new, more realistic mode of literary expression. In a very real way, realism is the first flowering of the true voice of the people, because before the introduction of realism the only experiences recorded in literature were essentially those of the nobility, and their view of the world was always idealized or heightened in some way, because it was fashionable to be oh-so-exquisite and graceful in art and writing.

As some of the links below will tell you, realism was also a response to the literary movement of Romanticism. The Romantic poets (Shelley, Blake, Byron, Keats, Wordsworth and a few others) were fascinated by imagination, and described it in many forms in their poetic works. As with much literature of the past, Romentic works relied greatly on symbolism; on conveying some specific (but obscure and hard-to-decipher) message through an allegorical narrative, which meant these works contained a lot of artificial and somewhat stilted, but also beautiful and highly poetic language. Realism reacts against this, wanting to describe life and experience as they are, instead of using high-falutin' symbolism and idealism.

It is also important to keep in mind, however, that just as realism attempts to describe real life, it also rejects symbolism in a way that often removes what you might call "the artistic substance" from a text. The realist author doesn't particularly want to be artistic, or convey some deep message; he or she typically just wants to describe real experiences; their own or their readers'. This imposes certain limits on realism, because artistic substance is often hidden in some form of symbolism or allegory.

Well, that was what I had to say on this subject. If you need more, write again.

Finally, here are some informative and worthwhile links about realism that I hope you may find enlightening:

- Tue Sorensen


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Tue Sorensen


I am an authority on the complete works of Shakespeare, and can answer any questions relating to his plays, poetry and life. I specialize in interpretation, double-meanings and translation into modern language.


I was a top-rated Allexperts expert on this same subject several years ago.

Former member of the Danish Shakespeare Society, as well as an active participant in the scholarly SHAKSPER mailing list.

Three years of studying English literature at the University of Aarhus, Denmark

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