On Realism

Real’s punctuation dethrones itself. It is through its ‘ism’ that real is questioned. In many ways, realism attacks the real, and its (real) modal verb is curbed, as realism occupies its junction, and disturbs the real. Realism is put into question, because the vivid outplay of detail, realism’s key modal play, makes real diminish. Through detail, real itself is questioned.  This questions the heart of narration. Narrative speech, which occurs to delineate the real from it’s’ for-itself ‘impure utterances, is described through intimate detail as something extra-textual, something very eerie, like the spectral extra terrestrial.  Whole of real’s being is questioned.  Modal totality abruptly ends the nodal curvature of real.  It stupefies the author, and, runs havoc on the reader.  Reader’s perception is blinded by the arrogant vivid description, realism overtakes the real.  Universalization of the particular real, extinguishes the particular reality of the real.  It’s’ for-itself’ status is broken. Realism becomes only ‘in-itself’, the pure realism, with no reality reflected upon on the text as real.  Realism‘s ecstasy, is to curb the real effect of reality. Readers are at a loss.  Too much detail refers to everything as something else. As if a ghost, tottering over us, the well ordained readers.  Ghostly details refer to the detail as an image, hidden in the text, yet not perceivable by the reader in a common sense reading of realist text or paragraph.  This extravagant detail, which is inside the text, also becomes outside of text, and thus makes the text something else.  Inside and outside of the text becomes one, as the pictoriality transcends the image, the realism effect makes the image of real succumb to it, the pictorial realism. 

Signifier succumbs to its own nature of self defence. Too much detailing makes signifier look like signified. As if, what is talked about, becomes the way it is talked about. So, the particular thing that is being talked about, the signified, and the literary device applied to it for the sake of utterance, becomes the signified. Or, everything, due to detail, becomes signified. Or else, everything is signifier, under the umbrella of realism.  Realism, the master totalizing effect, underscores the everything written under the rubric of realism.  Signifiers itself become signified. Or else, everything turns at the same time as signifier. The hierarchy between signifier and signified is broken. Either everything is signifier, or, everything turns into signified.  There is no master motif in the text, which is under the effect of realism. Realism as a totalitarian practice breaks the hierarchy between signifier and signified. All become same, under the detailing armature of realism.  Realism makes the show more real than reality. Reality is punctured by its own galaxial image making. Realism is the image making principle, through which, the three dimensional pictoriality of real is dismissed for the detail of image. Through this image of reality, three dimensional realities is made ashtray to its own three dimensionality.  Either everything is signifier, or, all is signified.  Detailing diminishes the nodal points of the curvature, the experience being uttered or talked about.  Realism satisfies itself through extinguishing its own particular gesture of reality, the concern being talked about.  Totalitarian realism, due to its practice of making reality and its description one with itself, displaces the signifier and signified hierarchy. Everything is at the same time signifier and also, signified. Image is transcribed as pictorial; yet, both are superceded, by the realist image making. Image falls unto itself, the ring is further created, and both image and pictorial are suspended in favour of vivid realist description.

I am indebted to Moinak Biswas and Gayatri C.  Spivak for their critical remarks on this issue.

Jeet Bhattacharya
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