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While we look to the dramatist to give romance to realism, we ask of the actor to give realism to romance

Oscar Wilde

Wijnand Nuyen

The nineteenth century was witness to the transition from the Romanticism to Realism. Writers were exploring ways to break free from the clutches of idealism and make character which captures the reality of the society. The society was in a state of initial turmoil and transformation was imminent.

Romanticism was relatively late in developing in French literature, even more so than in the visual arts. The 18th century precursor to romanticism, the cult of sensibility, and the French Revolution had been more of an inspiration to foreign writers than those experiencing it at first hand. One of romanticism’s key ideas and most enduring legacies is the assertion of nationalism, which became a central theme of romantic art and political philosophy.


Realism in literature is an approach that describes life and society without idealism. It is associated with nineteenth century French literature. Literary realism was the trend, beginning with mid 19th century French literature and extending to late 19th century writers, towards depictions of contemporary society as it was. In the spirit of general “realism,” realist writers opted for depictions of everyday and prosaic activities and experiences, instead of a stylized presentation. In general, realism in literature refers to the attempt to represent familiar and everyday people and situations in an accurate, non-idealized manner.

“Realism” the term particularly, refers to a literary and artistic movement of the late 18th and early 19th century. This movement was a response to romanticism. “Romanticism” also the romantic era was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the estimated period from 1800 to 1850.

Defining the nature of Romanticism may be approached from the starting point of the primary importance of the free expression of the feelings of the artist. The group of words with the root ‘Roman’ in the various European languages, such as romance and Romanesque, has a complicated history, but by the middle of the 18th century “romantic” in English and romantique in French were both in common use as adjectives of praise for natural phenomena such as views and sunsets, in a sense close to modern English usage. Romanticism was named after a medieval romance, a tale of chivalric adventure and individual heroism.

Magic Realism is an aesthetic style of fiction in which magical elements are blended into a realistic environment in order to access a deeper understanding of reality.