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Seven Essays

Studies in Literature, Drama, and Film

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Abdulla M. Al-Dabbagh

In Seven Essays: Studies in Literature, Drama, and Film, Abdulla Al-Dabbagh’s unique approach to literary and cultural issues succeeds in casting new light on these subjects, revealing innovative fields of research and investigation. Expressed in his usual lucid and eloquent style, this collection of essays deals with themes and topics raised in Al-Dabbagh’s first two books, Literary Orientalism, Postcolonialism, and Universalism (Lang, 2010) and Shakespeare, the Orient, and the Critics (Lang, 2010). These essays also embrace further exploration in the area of literary criticism and literary theory and venture into the area of film studies. Whether discussing the drama of Shakespeare and Ibsen, Kurdish cinema, or issues of contemporary literary criticism and theory, scholars will find Al-Dabbagh’s fresh compilation of literary studies an essential contribution to the field.
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Chapter 3. The Anti-Romantic Reaction in Modern(ist) Criticism

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THE ANTI-ROMANTIC REACTION IN MODERN(IST) CRITICISM

Introduction

In the second half of the nineteenth century and after the two major literary movements in European Literature, romanticism and realism, had reached their peak, a new wave of literary trends appeared which were, in the main, opposed to those two great movements.

If by realism we mean, in general terms, the faithful reproduction of reality as colored naturally by the writer’s personal viewpoint and outlook, and if we regard romanticism as, fundamentally, a great intuition of change in nature and society and a great striving for the creation of a new world where those contradictory dualities in nature and society are resolved, thus giving rise to a new view of poetry as a union of opposites, then we must regard the main literary trends of the late nineteenth century, naturalism and symbolism, as a retreat from the positions and the achievements of both realism and romanticism.

Similarly, just as the new realism of the twentieth century is often defined as the combination of romanticism and realism, elevated on the basis of a new world outlook to depict the new historical conditions, so can the various modernist trends of the twentieth century be seen to be, in the main, ← 17 | 18 → a reaction against both realism and romanticism and a retreat intellectually from the ideological standpoint of both movements. And just as, in strictly formal terms, romanticism...

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