The Evidence of Realism
[For the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association at Harvard University, March 17-20 2016]
How do texts--and especially realist texts--and their plots use or complicate the idea of evidence? What sort of evidence do such texts seem to assume readers require in order to encounter the "effect of the real"? And how do contemporaneous ideas of evidence from philosophy, legal theory, or science provide context for the consideration of evidence in literary works?