The literary movement formed by the reflection of Marxism in literature is called socialist realism. In this article, where we will talk about the most successful examples of books about socialist realism, which we can say is the favorite trend especially for those who want to read books about social events, let's first discuss what the concept of literary movement means.

What is a Literary Movement?

The fact that a group of artists come together and write similar works in terms of both form and content leads to the emergence of literary movements. Although the works written show similarities, they are quite different in terms of subject matter. The emergence of literary movements has made things much easier in terms of analyzing the history of literature.

In the next section, let's talk about the characteristics of socialist realism, which is the subject of our article.

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  • Socialist realism is one of the most ideological literary movements. This movement, which informs the society about human rights, governance and social consciousness, especially touches upon events that deeply affected the world, such as the French Revolution.
  • Artists who shape their works around socialist realism believe that "Art is for society." "Art is for society". In this direction, the authors constantly aim to make the person in front of them realize what is going on around them in their works.
  • Collectivism has a very important place in this movement. Because it is believed that only by acting together and creating a collective consciousness can the people who make up society overcome the problems around them.
  • The movement, which handled concepts such as populism and peasantism from a humanist perspective, shaped the content and forms of the works that deeply affected those who encountered them.

Socialist Realist Novels

In our next installment, we will tell you about social novels with such realistic narratives that you will feel your soul deeply affected while reading them, or you will think you are a protagonist in the story. We strongly recommend you to read the books mentioned!

Emile Zola- Germinal

Would you like to read a novel in which the smell of coal in the environment will come to your nose while telling the war-filled story of people working in the mines? If your answer is yes, Germinal is a candidate to become your favorite novel; let us tell you...

  1. Germinal, which deals with the war between the bourgeoisie and the miners who want to increase their wages in the century, brings together both the conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and the conflict within the proletariat. The book begins when Etienne, a young socialist worker, arrives in Montsou, a mining town with difficult working conditions, and you will breathlessly read about the consequences of low wages despite the difficult working environment. You will never forget this book, which also touches on love, family ties and collective consciousness.

Honore De Balzac - Goriot Baba

Goriot Baba, one of the most important novels of Balzac, who wrote in a realistic style about the corrupt family ties in society and the differences between the lower and upper classes, begins with the rich Goriot Baba, who devotes his life to his two daughters, moving into a boarding house. Father Goriot, who sends money to his daughters whenever they ask, for whom he is willing to do anything, faces the difficulty of staying away from them when they are not accepted by their wives. The other main character in Papa Goriot is Rastignac, a young law student staying at the same boarding house, who goes from staying in the most luxurious room of the boarding house to staying in the worst room and thus encounters the condescending eyes of everyone around him. Rastignac, who wants to leap to the highest class of society and is even willing to exhibit unprincipled behavior for this purpose, confronts us with another face of the people of 19th century Paris.

You should definitely read this book to enjoy a realistic narrative that shows how society at the time it was written ostracized and humiliated someone who lost his money over time, and how a young man who wants to rise up fights for his ambitions!

We have chosen our last suggestion from Turkish Literature.

Orhan Kemal - Birds of Gurbet

Gurbet Kuşları, written by Orhan Kemal, one of the important representatives of the socialist realism movement in our country, was first published in 1962. The main character of the book is İflahsiz Mehmet, the son of İflahsiz Yusuf from Orhan Kemal's other book Bereketli Topraklar Üzerinde.

The novel is about migration from the village to the city, one of the biggest problems in Turkey at the time. The novel realistically portrays how people who come to Istanbul are exploited here, how they compromise their own values and how people experience difficulties during their marriage journey, and describes the change that people who decide to migrate will experience in Istanbul with all its nakedness.

The subject of the book, which is very popular for its naked reflection of the events that took place after its writing, was also the subject of a movie with the same name. Although the title of the movie, Gurbet Kuşu, suggests that the movie and the book are the same, in fact Orhan Kemal was only slightly inspired by the events in this book when he wrote the movie.

We have shared with you 3 of the socialist realist novels that are very popular with their readers. We hope you will read these books and have a very good time.