The French Writer Who Started The Realism Movement

Realism in literature has its origins in 19th century Europe. The French writer who is credited as having created the Realist movement is Honoré de Balzac. But, what is realism in literature and how did Balzac help to start it? In this article, we will go deeply into answering these two interrelated questions.

The best way to begin to understand realism in literature is by defining the term realism. As its most simple and broad, realism is a representation of reality.

Before the 19th century, writers were not interested in representing everyday life in their works. It is important to note, before we go any further that, realism is not the same as plausibility. Realism is the representation of everyday experiences and activities of the characters whereas plausibility means created a plot that has internal coherence.

So, when we say that before the 1800s writers did not depict everyday life in their work, it does not mean that everything produced before then was in the realm of fantasy. It is simply, that writers did not often write about ordinary people leading ordinary lives, at least not in the level of detail as some did from the 19th century.

But depicting everyday life is not enough for realism, this depiction must lack any romanticizing

Although Realism began in painting and literature (prose and plays) and then, in the twentieth century, to cinema.

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The literature debate tearing apart Paris: should Céline’s racist pamphlets be published?

Louis-Ferdinand Céline was one of France’s greatest novelists – but plans to republish his anti-Semitic writing has dramatically divided Paris.

n a cold but sunny afternoon in late January I paid a visit to the Passage de Choiseul in the commercial heart of Paris. The passage is a covered arcade, one of many such places that were built across the Right Bank of Paris in the early part of the 19th century, and which were effectively the world’s first shopping malls. The Passage de Choiseul is also one of the most important and totemic sites in French literary history. It was the childhood home of the novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline, arguably the greatest French writer of the 20th century, who still regularly outranks Marcel Proust in readers’ surveys and sales. Most significantly for his admirers, the passage was immortalised by Céline in his two magnificent novels, Journey to the End of the Night andDeath on the Instalment Plan, published in the 1930s. In Céline’s day the place was poor and decrepit and “stank of dogs’ piss”. Nowadays it is expensive and chic. But there is no trace of its most famous literary inhabitant – an extremely unusual fact in France, a country that prides itself on its literature, and where even the meanest provincial town has at least one Avenue Victor Hugo or Lycée Baudelaire.

I bought some pens and a notebook in the upmarket stationery shop just opposite the entrance to number 67, where I knew Céline had lived, and asked the lady behind the counter why there was no trace of the great man. She said that she was often asked this question by Céline’s admirers, who came from all over the world to this place, and that she did not know why there was no commemorative plaque or any other sign that Céline had lived here. She then hesitated, looked around to check that we were alone, and said quietly: “There are many Jews here who control business. They don’t want anyone to remember him.” [ . . . ] More at: The literature debate tearing apart Paris: should Céline’s racist pamphlets be published?

‘The Gourmands’ Way’ review: Six Americans in Paris who changed the way we eat

For Americans growing up in the post-World War II affluence of peace and plenty, convenience cooking, supermarket produce and processed foods formed the basis of [ . . . ]

“The kitchen is a sensual place, and few household activities are more gratifying to the home cook than satisfying the gastronomic whims of a lover or spouse.”

Source: ‘The Gourmands’ Way’ review: Six Americans in Paris who changed the way we eat | Newsday