Book Chapter

Realism and Romance



Hames S (2013) Realism and Romance. In: McCracken-Flesher C (ed.) Approaches to Teaching the Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. MLA Approaches to Teaching World Literature, 124. New York: Modern Language Association, pp. 61-68.

First paragraph: Stevenson was the outstanding romancer os his age but also a crucial participant in the 1880s debate that first consolidated a theory of novelistic realism in English-language criticism. This essay documents his role in that 'art of fiction' debate with a particular interest in denaturalizing realism for undergraduates, both formally and historically. Revisiting Stevenson's dialogue with Henry James and appreciating the strength of his arguments against realism (he calls it 'the devil' in Letters 4: 141) can enrich and complicate monolithic notions of the novel's essential trueness to life. This episode also illuminates the reductive literary history that makes Stevenson's defense of romance sound so 'late' and his antirealism sound so 'early'.

Title of seriesMLA Approaches to Teaching World Literature
Number in series124
Publication date31/12/2013
PublisherModern Language Association
Publisher URL
Place of publicationNew York

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Dr Scott Hames

Dr Scott Hames

Senior Lecturer, English Studies