"The central aesthetic problem of realism" wrote Georg Lukács, "is the adequate presentation of the complete human personality." This course exams key works of realism beyond the shores of Europe— from South America in particular with a comparative interest in the Middle East North Africa— and explores how authors from these regions have employed a largely nineteenth century European mode of
writing to capture and define new "complete" personalities in the midst of radically shifting social milieus. To understand the full significance of these works, the course will include a reader with historical and journalistic pieces relevant to the time and place in which the author is writing and critical essays that help situate the author‘s production within regional literary traditions. Students will be asked to think and write critically about the possibilities and limitations of fiction to document history, the role of narrative in shaping the reception of sociopolitical phenomena and the relationship between art and politics more broadly.