Chapter

Rhetoric and Realism; or, Marxism, Deconstruction, and Madame Bovary

Jonathan Arac

in Impure Worlds

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231782
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241149 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823231782.003.0008
Rhetoric and Realism; or, Marxism, Deconstruction, and Madame Bovary

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This chapter is created in relation to “Marxism” to questions of “realism,” by which means broadly, inquiries that relate literary works to history, society, politics, and the economy. One advantage found in the terms of “rhetoric” and “realism” is that in ordinary usage they form a pair whose relative evaluation is unstable. Realism is the stuff of life that saves literature from the mere artifice of rhetoric; rhetoric is the fictionality that saves literature from the quotidian banality of realism. While under the sway of New Criticism, following a process that had run through the whole nineteenth century, rhetoric was reduced to the vagueness of “paradox” and the catchall of “metaphor.” Included as well are the resources of rhetorical analysis made possible by deconstructive criticism.

Keywords: Marxism; realism; Madame Bovary; society; politics; economy; rhetoric; paradox; New Criticism; literature

Chapter.  6078 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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