Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Committee or Advisor Chair

F.S. Bromberger

Committee Members

William W. Main

Ward S. Miller

Thorton Beckner


literature, reality, Cervantes, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Barth, philosophy


Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | French and Francophone Literature | Philosophy | Russian Literature


The discovery of the real has been the claim of philosophers and artists for centuries. But each explicit statement regarding the real worked has been followed by other statements, sometimes contradictory, each of which claims to be equally true and as valid as the previous one. Plato's treatment of the universal as the real was followed by Aristotle's preference for the particular. Marx's treatment of social relations as ultimately real is countered by Nietzsche's emphasis of the inner moral resources of the individual. Michelangelo's paintings and sculptures depicting man as God can be contrasted to Giacometti's work showing man as weak and lonely. Which of these views is correct? Which most accurately depicts the real world?