European and American Literary Realism: The Fictional Construction of Nation and Self
My research project will probe how the relationship between the protagonist and their society as illustrated within the 19th century realist novel functions as a reflective allegory for idealized national identity. I posit that the consolidation of recognizable cultural markers ,including language idiosyncrasies, geographic landmarks, and social traditions, connects character and setting in a unique way which sheds light on the idea of a singular national persona in literature; further, literary realism inevitably embodies a sense of cultural consolidation through the construction of a limited fictional setting, so as to reflect a picture of the real world as the reader imagines it. Scholars have defined cultural consolidation as the process of fortifying a collective identity toward the ultimate goal of successful-state building. Therefore, we must consider how protagonists relate to their social, spatial, and material surroundings as both individuals and generic representatives of national sentiment/ideals, and this is possible due to cultural consolidation within both the external fictional setting and the interiority of the protagonist.
Message to Sponsor
- Major: English and Comparative Literature
- Sponsor: Anselm
- Mentor: Miryam Sas