First published in 1973, On Realism is a comprehensive introduction to the complex problem of literary realism.

Written from both a critical and philosophical perspective, the book brings together the concrete study of literary cases and the conceptual analysis of the terms used in describing them. It uses examples drawn from a wide range of European literature and engages in philosophical discussion to argue for a richer and freer sense of the concept than was more commonly in favour at the time of writing. The book describes the literary forms of realism as an art of the 'middle distance' and sets out its character and value against alternatives and distortions - symbolism, naturalism, socialist realism, faits divers, and the literature of language consciousness.

On Realism will appeal to those with an interest in literary history, the history of literary theory, and literature and philosophy.

chapter 1|27 pages

Three samples

chapter 2|16 pages

Aims, methods, metaphors

chapter 3|8 pages

Transcendent matters …

chapter 4|8 pages

… and ideologies

chapter 5|31 pages

A conversation

chapter 6|22 pages

The charm of institutions

chapter 7|16 pages

The middle distance

chapter 8|13 pages

Description and evaluation

chapter 9|26 pages

Distensions, alternatives, concentrations

chapter 10|18 pages

A perennial mode