Antinomies of Realism is Jameson’s major study of the nineteenth-century realist novel from a comparative perspective, covering the major literary traditions of Western Europe and the United States. It reviews the most influential theories of artistic and literary realism—and takes an approach based on the social and historical preconditions for its emergence. These combine an attention to the body and its states of feeling as well as to the categories of individualism and temporality (or history). They are studied in a range of major authors, including Zola, Tolstoy, Perez Galdos, and George Eliot.
The very notion of such a synthesis or symbiosis implies the approach of a moment in which its two basic impulses begin again to separate, and this explains the gradual supersession of classical realism in the novel by the various forms of what we call modernism. A coda then explains the survival of "realistic" narratives after the end of classical realism—it is in effect a proposal for the study of popular fiction and mass culture.
About the Author
Fredric Jameson is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University. The author of numerous books, he has over the last three decades developed a richly nuanced vision of Western culture’s relation to political economy. He was a recipient of the 2008 Holberg International Memorial Prize. He is the author of many books, including Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism; The Cultural Turn; A Singular Modernity; The Modernist Papers; Archaeologies of the Future; Brecht and Method; Ideologies of Theory; Valences of the Dialectic; The Hegel Variations; and Representing Capital.