Realist Vision


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Peter Brooks

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A lively and distinctive look at realism in great modern books and art?

Realist Vision exploresthe claim to represent the world “as it is.” Peter Brooks takes a new look at the realist tradition and its intense interest in the visual. Discussing major English and French novels and paintings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Brooks provides a lively and perceptive view of the realist project.
Centering each chapter on a single novel or group of paintings, Brooks examines the “invention” of realism beginning with Balzac and Dickens, its apogee in the work of such as Flaubert, Eliot, and Zola, and its continuing force in James and modernists such as Woolf. He considers also the painting of Courbet, Manet, Caillebotte, Tissot, and Lucian Freud, and such recent phenomena as “photorealism” and “reality TV.”

Peter Brooks is Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature, Yale University.  He is author or editor of more than a dozen books, among them Whose Freud? The Place of Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture; Law’s Stories; and The Melodramatic Imagination, which are available from Yale University Press.

“Brooks makes these authors come alive. Reading about them and their work is like reading a good novel. This is a culminating text by a real pro, in the best sense of the word. It comes from the heart, but there are years of scholarly work and critical engagement behind it.”—Linda Nochlin, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts

"A fine new book. . . . [An] excellent book."—James Wood, New Republic

"A lively and perceptive view of realism in literature, and in particular its emphasis on the visual."—Andrew Starner, The American Scholar

"Brooks tells a compelling story sprinkled with easy erudition, subtle readings of texts and paintings, and plenty of fresh ideas that will have readers looking at 'things' in a whole new light from now on."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"With Realist Vision, Peter Brooks directs his gaze at some of the most remarkable works of realism and offers a spirited appreciation of the genre and its efforts to represent the truth of modern life in society. . . . Because Realist Vision was conceived as a lecture series, its chapters have a spoken quality that invites readers of differing expertise into them."—Larry T. Shillock, Bloomsbury Review


"The readings are always acute and suggestive."—Elizabeth Helsinger, Studies in English Literature
ISBN: 9780300138962
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
36 b/w illus.
Whose Freud?

The Place of Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture

Edited by Peter Brooks and Alex Woloch

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Law's Stories

Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law

Edited by Peter Brooks and Paul Gewirtz

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The Melodramatic Imagination

Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama, and the Mode of Excess

Peter Brooks; With a new preface

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