Realism and Revolution: Balzac, Stendhal, Zola and the Performances of History

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Sandy Petrey explores the emergence of nineteenth-century French realism in the light of the concept of speech acts as defined by J. L. Austin and as exemplified by the history of the French Revolution. Through analysis of the techniques of representation in works by Balzac, Stendhal, and Zola, Petrey suggests that the expression of a truth depends on the same collective forces necessary to change a regime.