Sotirios Paraschas' study of The Realist Author and Sympathetic Imagination begins with a fascinating observation that gives birth to the central conceit of his book: the “gradual semantic attenuation” of the idea of the author in the twentieth century coincides with the moment at which “the concept of realism” also “becomes a problem and an object of contention” (1). Paraschas goes on to explore the vexed relationship between the realist author and the realist text, and a number of productive questions emerge. If realism is held up as a mode of writing based on mere “observation,” to the “exclusion of the imagination,” then what exactly can be the status of the author of a realist text? (2). How did realist authors navigate this dilemma, and which means did they employ in order to engage it and reassert their presence within their texts? Finally, in an era that also saw the...
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Book Review| February 28 2018
The Realist Author and Sympathetic Imagination
The Realist Author and Sympathetic Imagination. By Paraschas, Sotirios. Studies in Comparative Literature 28.
2013. xii + 223 pp. Hardcover. $99.00.
geoffrey baker is an associate professor of humanities (Literature) at Yale-NUS College. Currently completing a monograph on the relationship between belief and evidence in the nineteenth-century novel, he is the author of The Aesthetics of Clarity and Confusion: Literature and Engagement since Nietzsche and the Naturalists (Palgrave 2017) and Realism's Empire: Empiricism and Enchantment in the Nineteenth-Century Novel (Ohio State UP 2009).
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Comparative Literature Studies (2018) 55 (1): 229–231.
Geoffrey Baker; The Realist Author and Sympathetic Imagination. Comparative Literature Studies 28 February 2018; 55 (1): 229–231. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.55.1.0229
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