The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #81: Realism

General Introduction
– Why we don’t have a Dr. Who episode
– The Facebook page

So What Is Realism?
– The Oxford Guide weighs in
– Realism vs. unbelievability
– Artistic movements
– Architectural realism
– The discarding of decoration

Realism Before Realism
– The probable and the possible
– Realism vs. nominalism
– Iconography and hagiography
– Dependence on metaphysics

Renaissance Realism
– Verisimilitude
– Those hipster realists!
– Manet’s Venus
– The Thinker reads Dante
– Let’s avoid the Whig view of history

Impressionisms
– Crane kills a dog
– Monet basks in a sunbeam
– Debussy builds the ocean
– Subjective realism
– The category gets slippery

Realism and Naturalism
– Neo-Romanticism
– Hyper-Realism
– Whitman splits the difference
– Realism as democracy

Modernism and Postmodernism
– David bunts
– Splintering the real
– The genrification of art
– Subject matter to subject
– Stream-of-consciousness as realist technique
– The realism of the cynic
– Hysterical realism
– Supplemented, not supplanted

The $100,000 Question
– Why should a Christian write or paint realistically?
– Nathan is suspicious
– The role of the prophets
– The reproduction and the grotesque

3 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #81: Realism

  1. I reiterate my admonition.  Lack of Doctor Who is a startling gap in your geek cred.  This must be remedied.  Start with the Christopher Eccleston run and work your way forward from there.  BBC didn’t start throwing money at the show until later, so expect a bit of cheese in the special effects for the first season or two.Regarding the postmoderns who take genre fiction and turn it into “real” literature, would now be a good time to ask y’all’s take on Alan Moore’s Watchmen? (The comic, not the film… unless you liked the film… not that there’s anything wrong with that… but the comic’s much better)Your definition of “realism” at the beginning of the show reminds me of a lot of similar definitions in psychology.  “Cognitive” psychology doesn’t mean much except as a reaction to “behavioral” psychology, which doesn’t mean much except as a reaction to “dynamic” psychology, which doesn’t mean much except… and away we go until we’re talking about the psychologies of Plato and Aristotle and Theophrastus.

    1. Charles H I’ve read and enjoyed Watchmen, not as realist fiction but as satire.  (I’ve not seen the film.)  I think that his take on the superhero genre is a nice riposte to the “modern life is just too complicated; we need a guy who can just punch his way through evil” mentality of many comic books.  (Those that have emerged post-Watchmen, not coincidentally, I think, have made more of the ambiguities inherent in the super-powerful.)  I know Grubbs doesn’t much like Watchmen, so I’ll let him carry it from here if he’d like.

      1. ngilmour I’m out of my league debating what counts as realist fiction with you, but I think a case might be made for Watchmen as realist.  Certainly, if “realist” is about Showing What Is And Nothing More, then a realist superhero comic would be a contradiction (there was something in the definition discussion about minimizing the reader’s suspension of disbelief, if I remember correctly).  Or did I misunderstand that?  Can there be such a thing as realist fantasy or realist sci-fi?  But if one of the central characteristics of realism is an unflinching look at humanity’s frailty, mundanity, and ugliness, then Watchmen might qualify.  Then again, there was a brief comment about existential literature as distinct from realist, and Watchmen is shot through with characters dealing with meaning and meaninglessness.

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