Literary Realism and the Ekphrastic Tradition

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Literary Realism and the Ekphrastic Tradition examines representative texts and the theories of realism upon which they are based. It studies the foundations of these theories in the philosophies of language contemporaneous with them. Beginning with Adamicism, Mack Smith looks at the way humanist, rationalist, empiricist, Kantian, positivist, and poststructuralist theories of language are textually dramatized. He considers the cultural and personal influences that affect historical notions of realism and reality. He also demonstrates the rhetorical basis of realism by considering a mimetic device used by novelists in rendering a faithful version of reality - ekphrasis, the narrative description of a work of art. Smith seeks a middle ground between the extremes of theory and interpretation, discourse and reality, and textualism and history, thus making an important contribution to the revaluation of literary studies.