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G-LSUD3 EnLit336 Nineteenth-Century Realism and the English Novel

G-LSUD3 EnLit336 Nineteenth-Century Realism and the English Novel

Elective | Teaching hours: 3 | Credits: 3 | ECTS: 6

Description

Course Description

What do we mean when we refer to the idea of ‘objective reality’? Does it exist or is it obsolete in the context of our postmodern, post-reality world? Can it be represented, and, if yes, how has this happened in literature and the arts? This course will explore the complexity, slipperiness, and elasticity of the terms ‘real’ and ‘realism’ and trace their trajectory from the Age of Reason to our post-truth era with emphasis on the novel. Although realist fiction is undoubtedly committed to a historical particularity, as a form of mimesis realism can never be identical with that which it represents, since its tools, i.e., language/words, can never function as flawless, objective mirrors. The serious artistic treatment of ordinary people and their experience, linear plots, omniscient narrators, and round characters are of course elements associated with a realistic mode of representation. Yet, the British nineteenth-century realist project is not explicit, this course aims to show, and British realist writers seem to exploit narrative techniques in ways that acknowledge the impossibility of a hundred percent objective representation or even question the nature of reality. Although realism has been accused of promoting dominant power structures, in its effort to project a recognizable image of society, we will examine how it can also complicate and question the historical moments it represents.

Course Objectives

  • to familiarize students with the term ‘realism’ in art and the narrative conventions of realism in literature 

  • to acquaint students with the socio-political context of the texts discussed, and explore how it is reflected in them 

  • through close textual analysis, to examine how realism may be engaged in creative ways with other genres

  • to expose students to the elasticity of the term and the criticism against it

  • to aid students to draw links between past & present debates on reality and mimesis

Teaching (current academic year)

SemesterGroupDayFromToRoomInstructor
Winter Monday11:00 13:30 Kitsi-Mitakou Katerina