The Real Thing

Terry Eagleton


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Yale University Press
5 January 2024
ISBN: 9780300274295
176 pages

From the publisher

A clear-sighted and entertaining defence of literary realism, and an account of its key practitioners

Realist fiction is one of the most enduring artforms history has ever witnessed. By describing the intricate inner life of its characters, or widening its focus to set their experience in context, it can evoke the reader's sympathies as few other forms can. Yet it is also by and large a product of the middle classes: boldly individualist and fascinated by money, property, marriage, and inheritance.

Can such realism survive in the postmodern age?

Acclaimed critic Terry Eagleton explores realism's complex history, practice, and politics. Spanning several centuries, and including writers such as George Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, and Iris Murdoch, Eagleton offers a witty, entertaining defence of a form which offers both panoramic scope and individual nuance in an increasingly fragmented world.