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The Lessons of Champfleury


Until a flourishing of scholarship in the last decade, the writer Champfleury had been banished to relative obscurity. In this article, I examine what we can learn from Champfleury’s recent rescue, and what it suggests about the hybridity of realism. Close readings of specific works by Champfleury demonstrate how his texts play with seeming contradictions and this very self-conscious play encourages us to rethink our entire understanding of realism, even in its most “naïve” state. Furthermore, all of Champfleury’s work illustrates how realism became a relative term, able to pivot across the very categories it helped to establish.

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