Meaning of Realism

What is Realism:

As realism it is called the tendency to present things as they really are, without embellishments, exaggerations or nuances. The word, as such, is composed with the real word and the suffix –ismindicating ‘school’, ‘movement’ or ‘trend’.

Realism is a philosophical, artistic and literary current that has had expressions in the most diverse spheres of human activity, such as painting, literature and law.

Realism is also a political concept that refers to the defense of the monarchy and royal power as a political system for the administration of the State. In this sense, realists are those who are favorable to the establishment, conservation or restoration of monarchical power.

Characteristics of realism

Realism, in its various philosophical, artistic, literary and legal expressions, has the same goal: to represent reality from an objective position. Among the general characteristics of realism, the following stand out:

  • The search for the most exact reproduction possible of the reality and the problems that people face.
  • Centered on the man, hence the descriptions of the characters are specific and real in terms of physical and psychological traits.
  • Detailed descriptions seek to achieve a more credible representation of reality.
  • His style is elaborate, precise and there is no room for subjectivity.
  • Literary works expose events that occurred in reality, but substituting the names of where the events occurred.
  • They have a historical character because they expose the different events and individual, social and even political problems of a specific moment.
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realism in art

realism artThe painter’s workshopCourbet, Gustave, 1855

In art, realism is an artistic current that is characterized by objectively and meticulously representing the reality and daily life of people, focusing on ordinary people, workers and peasants, as a way of denouncing injustice and social misery.

It was an artistic trend contrary to romanticism and its worlds of dreams and glorification of the past.

Its greatest exponent was Émile Zola (1840-1902) in literature and Gustave Courbet (1818-1877) in painting.

realism and naturalism

Realism and naturalism are complementary avant-garde artistic and literary currents of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Naturalism arises from realism, and is characterized by sharpening the purposes of realism, which was concerned with making a faithful and detailed representation of society.

Thus, naturalism is a more accentuated form of realism, which tries to reproduce reality following the methods of experimental science to discover the laws that govern the behavior of people.

See also artistic currents.

literary realism

Realism is an aesthetic current of literature whose peak was recorded in the nineteenth century. Realism seeks the objective, faithful, sober and detailed representation of reality, life, people and society.

It was characterized by presenting a detailed approach, in order to describe its conflicts and tensions. In fact, it is an attempt to transfer the rigor of scientific observation to the field of literature.

Honoré Balzac (17999-1850), for example, one of its greatest exponents, set out to make a complex study of the French society of his time and portray it in his great work the Human Comedy.

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Other prominent representatives and precursors were Émile Zola (1840-1902), Fiódor Dostoevski (1821-1881), Charles Dickens (1812-1870), José María Eça de Queirós (1845-1900), Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920) and Thomas Mann (1875-1955).

In literary terms, realism marked a break from romanticism, rejecting sentimentality.

See also:

Magical realism

Magical realism is a Latin American literary trend that emerged in the mid-twentieth century.

It was characterized by introducing unreal or strange elements as something that is part of everyday life. Its greatest exponent was Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014). /magical realism/

realism in philosophy

Realism in philosophy is a doctrine of thought that affirms that the objective existence of the objects that we perceive through our senses is independent of the perceived being itself.

This means that the objects, a glass, a table, a chair, that are represented in our mind as a concept or an abstraction, are realities that exist independently of us.

As such, it is a philosophical current opposed to the idealism of George Berkeley (1685-1753), who maintains that the object only exists in our mind.

See also philosophical currents.

Legal realism is a doctrinal current that focuses on the study of applied law, its normative effectiveness.

In this sense, he considers that the law is not about what is ideally mandatory, but about those rules that are and have been effectively complied with by society and imposed by the authority.

Hence, the concept of validity and effectiveness are fundamental: a law that is not applied is a useless law. There are different currents within this doctrine: an American one, which emerged in the first half of the 20th century, and a Scandinavian one.

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