Eras Journal – Carnighan, R. Abstract

Abstract of Carnighan, R.,”Somewhere Between Literature and Eschatology: The Genre of Romantic Realism”

Donald Fanger, in Dostoevsky and Romantic Realism: A Study of Dostoevsky in Relation to Balzac, Dickens and Gogolclaims that these four authors successfully portray objective reality through their own subjective personal visions.

At the heart of Fanger’s study is the dilemma of the author who wishes to write responsibly about the world’s disunity, yet longs to encourage readers with a story that points to a vision of unity. Fanger believes that Balzac, Dickens, Gogol and Dostoevsky present an imperfect world truthfully, without compromising their idealistic vision for that world.

This paper will address the task set before the romantic realists. How were they to write their own personal visions into realistic fiction without tending towards idealistic romanticism? According to Fanger, these novelists’ subjective emphasis on a personal vision shaped the romantic realists’ objective reality.

Fanger attempts to provide evidence to designate Balzac, Dickens, Gogol and Dostoevsky as the only four successful romantic realists. I will suggest that Dostoevsky’s success as a romantic realist was due to his faith, which allowed him to hold together the romantic and realistic tendencies of the genre without compromising one or the other.