‘Realism’ is a pervasive term in discussions of contemporary developments in the cultural sphere. By drawing on different theories of realism, the authors explore how the term may be used as a helpful concept in order to analyse and evaluate current trends in cultural production and, in turn, how cultural production changes our understanding of what counts as ‘realism’. The contributions deal with realism in narrative fiction, drama and audiovisual media (film, television news) within the context of national traditions: examples drawn on in the case studies range from Africa, Britain, Germany, Iceland, Russia, Turkey to the United States. While the authors take their cues from media-specific ‘realisms’, focusing especially on narrative fiction, the volume also highlights continuities and intersections between notions of realism in different genres and media. With its original essays, this collection invigorates the transdisciplinary engagement with forms and socio-political functions of realism in contemporary culture.
Dorothee Birke, FRIAS, Freiburg; Stella Butter, University of Mannheim.