2. Of Realism and Reality

Definitions and Contexts

  1. G. R. Thompson

Published Online: 14 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444344271.ch2

Reading the American Novel 1865-1914

Reading the American Novel 1865-1914

How to Cite

Thompson, G. R. (2011) Of Realism and Reality, in Reading the American Novel 1865-1914, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444344271.ch2

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 OCT 2011
  2. Published Print: 16 SEP 2011

Book Series:

  1. Reading the Novel

Book Series Editors:

  1. Daniel R. Schwarz

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631234067

Online ISBN: 9781444344271



  • realism and reality, definitions and contexts;
  • realism, theory and practice of fiction;
  • realism, in France, England, the United States and Russia;
  • realistic novel and romance, in James's The American;
  • “The Art of Fiction”;
  • Mark Twain, on faux realism and bogus romance;
  • sham realism and sham romance;
  • Sir Walter Scott, reality, romanticism and life on the Mississippi;
  • realism and romance, the European matrix;
  • American youth and innocence, Howells's young ladies


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • “The Way Things Happen”: Henry James on the Art of Fiction

  • Mark Twain on Faux Realism and Bogus Romance

  • Sham realism and sham romance: Walter Scott and “Old Times”

  • Realism and Romance: The European Matrix

  • Benevolent Realism: Howells's Reflections on America