Realism, by Pam Morris
Reading Guide and Discussion Questions
- This chapter begins by defining literary realism in terms of Idealism and Materialism. Explain this definition.
- Explain the author’s discuss of “secular empirical rules.”
- Explain what realism “as a literary form” has been associated with and explain the importance of this.
- Define mimesis
- Define verisimilitude
- Explain the term “truth as verifiability” and why the term is problematic.
- Morris says that literary realism can be thought of in aesthetic and cognitive terms. Explain what this means.
- Explain this phrase: “using language predominantly as a means of communication rather than verbal display.”
- Explain the relationship that exists between realism, the novel, the Enlightenment, Capitalism, and Mass Culture
- Identify the dominant ideas of The Enlightenment
- Explain 2 important ways that modernist writing deviated from what we commonly refer to as “realist literature.”
- Philosophers of the “Frankfurt School” (Adorno, Horkheimer, and Habermas) identified a number of weaknesses in realist art. Identify them and explain them.
- Walter Benjamin’s view of realist art different slightly from that of Adorno, Horkheimer, and Habermas. Identify and explain those differences.
- The bigger picture: step back from this chapter and try to think of the whole thing from a macro level. How should this material impact how we encounter and react to the literature we are going to read the rest of the semester? Can you generate a type of holistic reading guide that we can use moving forward?