Realism develops in the second half of the 19th century.
The novels of Realism are also called “bourgeois” because the protagonists are no longer heroes, but ordinary people with their daily dramas. The values they want to represent are also “bourgeois”: individualism, the struggle to emerge, the power of money.
The authors of that era gave literature a very specific task: to make the contemporary world known as it is without fiction.
The writers who fully develop the realistic need and elaborate the new literary form called naturalism are: Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), author of the novel Madame Bovary, and Emile Zola (1840-1902) who theorized the rules of the novel experimental, that is, an objective, impersonal narrative, which leaves the possibility to the characters to express themselves.
In fiction, however, the realist writers explicitly refer to French Naturalism. In fact, they express a strong need for realism so that the work takes on the air of a real event, “as if it were made by itself”.
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