Nineteenth-Century Definitions of
Realism sets itself at work to consider
characters and events which are apparently
the most ordinary and  uninteresting, in
order to extract from these their full value
and true meaning. In short, realism reveals.
Where we thought nothing worth of notice,
it shows everything  to be rife with
significance. George Parsons Lathrop, 'The
Novel and its Future," Atlantic Monthly 34
(September 1874): 313‑24.