Reality or imagination, fact or fiction, truth or illusion, life or art - these competing claims of referentiality and textuality have long been the concern of writers and scholars of realist literature. In her recent book, All is True, Lilian R. Furst bemoans the tendency of literary critics to view these conepts as an either/or option that privileges one at the expense of the other. Rather than being mutually exclusive, referentiality and textuality are seen by Furst as complementary and interdependent. She proposes a mode of analysis that recognizes the dialogic relationship between them and focuses on the porous boundary separating the external world of verifiable reality and the internal world of fictive illusion. As Furst explains, the tension between these two worlds arises from the attempt by realist writers - especially those of the nineteenth century - to conceal this relationship from the reader. They declare their fiction to be a faithful replica of reality, but the text's rootedness in language exposes their endeavor to be an act of creation rather than representation.
This article was originally published in Letras Peninsulares, 13.1
Willem, Linda. "Places in the Mind: Evocative Walks Through Galdos's Madrid," Letras Peninsulares 13 (2000): 319-28.