Department of English

Associate Professor Phillip Barrish publishes 'The Cambridge Introduction to American Literary Realism'

Wed, May 9, 2012

Between the Civil War and the First World War, the movement for literary realism was at the cutting edge of American fiction. Realist writers involved in the movement include some of America's most prominent, such as Henry James, Edith Wharton and Mark Twain, but also many lesser-known writers whose work still speaks to us today, for instance Charles Chesnutt, Zitkala-Ša, and Sarah Orne Jewett. Emphasizing realism's historical context, this volume traces the genre's relationship with powerful, often violent, social conflicts involving race, gender, class and national origin. It also examines the formal techniques that writers used to create what Henry James called “the odor of reality”; the necessarily ambiguous relationship between realism produced on the page and reality outside the book; and the different, often contradictory, forms the 'real' took in literary works by different authors. The most accessible yet sophisticated account of American literary realism currently available, the volume not only synthesizes but also contributes to existing research in the field.

Now available from Cambridge University Press

About the Author

In addition to The Cambridge Introduction to American Literary Realism, Phillip Barrish is the author of two other books, American Literary Realism, Critical Theory, and Intellectual Prestige, 1880-1995 (Cambridge UP, 2001) and White Liberal Identity, Literary Pedagogy, and Classic American Realism (Ohio State UP, 2005). His current research explores fictional representations of health-care systems in the United States from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


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