Realism

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This lecture tackles head-on the issue of what ‘realism’ is – or rather, how the term has been used in philosophy, aesthetics, and art and literary history. It is suggested that the best way in which to understand in which sense the term is being used on a given occasion is to consider to what it is being used in opposition: idealism, Classicism, Romanticism, naturalism, stylisation, or psychological interiority. The use of prefixes such as ‘hyper’, ‘sur’, ‘psychological’, ‘magical’, ‘sociality’ is considered, and it is suggested that since all literature is at some level related to the real, the term can most helpfully be used by being narrowed.