Goran Blix at nonsite:
It’s clear from Jameson’s latest book that a great deal remains to be said about the emergence and dissolution of the classical realist novel. Concepts like Auerbach’s mimesis and Bakhtin’s dialogism have hardly exhausted the problem, nor have more strictly historical accounts seeking to situate this hybrid form along a spectrum of modes and genres running from romance and epic to melodrama and modernism. Moreover, as Jameson recalls, discussions of realism sadly tend to get bogged down in narrow-minded aesthetic partisanship—realism, for or against?—as if the form could somehow intrinsically reinforce the dominant ideology through its apparent reification of existing reality, or, on the contrary, necessarily point toward the future by capturing the clashing forces working to undermine the status quo. Refreshingly, Jameson here tries to steer clear of any normative assessment and seeks to understand realism instead as a unique and fragile aesthetic constellation that flared up briefly within a larger dialectical movement, which then also ended up dissolving the form.