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Realism is used in two ways (i) to denote a literary movement of the nineteenth century, especially in prose fiction (beginning with balzac in France George eliot in england and William dean howells in america and (ii) to designate a re current way of representing life in literature which was typified by the writers of this historical movement. 

Realistic fiction in often opposed to romantic fiction, The romance is said to present life as it would have it, to be more picturesque, more adventurous more heroic more than what is real. The actual realism, on the other hand, is to present an accurate imitation of life as it is. This distinction is not invalid. but it is inadequate.   Casanova T. E. Lawrence.  Winston  Churchill  were people in real life, but their histories related by themselves or others, demonstrate that truth is stranger than realism.  The realist sets out to write a fiction which will give the illusion that it reflects life as it seems to the common reader.  To achieve this effect he may prefer as a protagonist to be an ordinary citizen of middletown, living on main street, perhaps and engaged in the real estate business the realist in other words is deliberately selective in his material and prefers the average the commonplace and the everyday over the rarer aspects of the contemporary scene. His characters, therefore are usually of the middle class or less frequently the working class people without highly exceptional endowments these fellows live through ordinary experiences of childhood, adolescence, love, marriage, parenthood, infidelity and death they find life rather dull and often unhappy though it may be brightened by the occasional touches of beauty and joy they may also under special circumstances display something akin to heroism. 

A thorough going realism involves not only a selection of the subject matter but more importantly, a special literary  manner as well. The subject is is represented, or 'rendered' in such a way as to give  the reader the illusion of actual experiences.  Daniel Defoe,  the first novelistic realist , dealt with the extraordinary adventures of a shipwrecked mariner ,  named Robinson Crusoe and with the extraordinary misadventures of Moll Flanders.  But these novels are made to seem the very mirror held as real life by Defoe's reportorial manner of rendering the events, whether trivial or extraordinary. In the same circumstantial matter-of-fact and seemingly unselective way. The writers such as Henry Fielding and Jane Austen , are sometimes called realists Because they often render commonplace people so well that they convince their readers such people really lived and talked this way.  It is well,  however,  to Reserve the term 'realist' for writers who render a subject seriously,  and as through it were a direct reflection of the casual order of experience without too patently shaping it,  as do Fielding and Austen, into a lightly wrought comic or ironic pattern.                                               


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