11. Realism, Naturalism, Symbolism, and Aestheticism

  1. M. A. R. Habib

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444328004.ch11

Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction

Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction

How to Cite

Habib, M. A. R. (2010) Realism, Naturalism, Symbolism, and Aestheticism, in Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444328004.ch11

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 JAN 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160346

Online ISBN: 9781444328004



  • realism, naturalism, symbolism, and aestheticism;
  • unifying systems of thinkers, as Hegel and unifying visions of Romantics - collapsing into series of one-sided systems;
  • values and ideals of mainstream - bourgeois Enlightenment prevailing;
  • historical pattern in the Renaissance - science displacing religion and theology as supreme arbiter of knowledge;
  • natural sciences, becoming the model - and measure of other disciplines;
  • realism and naturalism, tendency toward realism - in parts of Europe and America, 1840s;
  • naturalism, the ancient term - for the physical sciences or the study of nature;
  • naturalism, viewed as a more extreme form of realism - encompassing detailed methods of description;
  • Zola, leading figure of French naturalism;
  • symbolism and aestheticism - currents of realism and naturalism, holding sway in European literature


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Historical Background: The Later Nineteenth Century

  • Realism and Naturalism

  • Symbolism and Aestheticism