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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Realism as illustrated in the writing of the nineteenth century Russian masters Duncan, Rosemary

Abstract

The great movement in Russian literature known as realism has been aptly described by one of its later adherents, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, as "imaginative literature", which "depicts life as it really is", and that "its aim is truth-unconditional and honest". There truly could be no better standard than this for enlightened literature. For although life is never static, and modes in literature of various regimes have come and gone and will continue to do so, nevertheless, truth sought sincerely by all serious thinkers throughout the ages remains eternal. Unfortunately hierarchies, oligarchies and dictatorships of various kinds have been forced upon human beings since the beginning of known history. With these regimes have come the masterminds who endeavored to mold into their particular cast the minds subjected to them. In some instances they have succeeded, but there have always been those refugees of independent thought who, because they refused to bow down to the decrees of a tyrant, have either hid in catacombes or fled to other lands. Such people are the illuminators of the ages— God's shining stars. Theirs was the spirit of 19th Century Russian realism. Its portrayal of truth is one of the most glorious in all literature.

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