RUS 251: HUSSARS, HOOKERS, HOLY FOOLS: 19TH CENTURY RUSSIAN LITERATURE IN TRANSLATION
ROMANTICISM VERSUS REALISM
Contrastive analysis, adapted from John Mersereau.
Romanticism Realism
1. Dominance of plot (intrigue) (Charactersserve plot, dramatic events) 1. Dominance of character (plot serves characterization; events reveal character)
2. Story is largely "told." 2. Story is largely "shown."
3. Representation by metaphoric means (comparison between unlike levels) 3. Representation by metonymic means (by contiguity)
4. Metaphoric significance (triumph of good over evil) 4. Pragmatic significance (good guys get ahead)
5. Idealization 5. No idealization (life as it is)
6. Hyperbolization (exaggeration to depict ideal) 6. Objectivity (show it as it is)
7. Story material from supernatural and/or phenomenal world 7. Story material only from phenomenal world
8. Events range from impossible to probable (mysterious causes to some events) 8. Events range from possible to probable(all events "naturally" motivated)
9. Disturbed chronology (events reordered to exploit suspense) 9. Normal chronology (events presented in order of occurrence insofar as possible)
10. Limited disclosure (some information deniedto reader) 10. Full disclosure of facts (all facts revealed to reader)
11. Heterogeneous narrational means (variety of "voices") 11. Homogenous narrational means (one "voice" neutral exposition)
12. Intrusive author (=narrator) Addresses to reader, digressions, apostrophes to personages. 12. Absence of author as narrator. No author-reader play; author remains invisible to enhance illusion of reality.
13. Capricious author (play with reader. Romantic irony in Tieck's definition -- deliberate destruction of illusion of reality) 13. Disciplined author (no author-reader play; author remains invisible to enhance illusion of reality)
14. Unusual personages (bandits, homicides, gypsies, avengers, devils) 14. Ordinary personages (typical people in mundane situations; daily routine, marriage)
15. Personages arbitrary and static (dominatedby single passions; limited attitudes, no or un- motivated changes) 15. Personages motivated, evolving (complex personalities, events change personages, inconsistent behavior is motivated)
16. Personages' speech is stylized(enhances predetermined types and passions: vengeful artist, offended officer, heroic bandit, etc.) 16. Personages' speech individualized (language of their class, gender, education, emotions, profession, etc., is reflected)
17. Personages' psychic states are revealed through tirades, confessions, harangues 17. Personages' psychic states revealed through dialogue, inner monologue, dreams.
18. Personages' names metaphoric ("tag names reveal basic inner quality) 18. Personages' names motivated by "real" life customs
19. Personages have special physical properties (unusually ugly or handsome; magnetic eyes, incredible strength) 19. Personages are like everyone else (mousey -looking, ordinary)
20. Settings are exotic (distant lands, Transylvania, Caucasus, South Seas, fairy land, hell, Venus) 20. Settings prosaic (Petersburg, an estate, Moscow)
21. Local color used for exotic effect (gypsy dress, food, songs, Indian customs) 21. Local color to enhance verisimilitude (to make personages credible)
22. Description of the unusual for effect 22. Description of the typical for verisimilitude
23. Choice of detail for effect (this aspect of setting creates atmosphere, suspense) 23. Choice of detail for illusion of reality (dirty window, stained teeth, smells)
24. No "inessential" details (all details serve story line, plot) 24. Peripheral, apparently inessential detail (walk-on characters, the nitty-gritty in the environment, etc.) to give impression of fullness & variety of life
25. Temporal setting: past, present, or future, but usually the first or last are used to enhance exoticism 25. Usually contemporary setting
26. Setting is at the service of plot (exotic people in exotic settings, doing strange things) 26. Setting is at the service of characterization (typical people in typical situations
27. (In some Russian historical tales the setting became dominant: plot and personages are simply justifications for creating detailed setting: Medieval Reval, for instance)  
28. Framed tale very common (shows how storycame about & justifies its telling; removes author from position of responsibility, author only reports what he heard) 28. Framed tale uncommon

Updated 6/27, 2009