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Impure WorldsThe Institution of Literature in the Age of the Novel$
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Jonathan Arac

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780823231782

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823231782.001.0001

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

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

(p.111) 8. Rhetoric and Realism; or, Marxism, Deconstruction, and Madame Bovary
Impure Worlds

Jonathan Arac

Fordham University Press

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

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