Capitalist Realism, Disappointment, and the History of Sensibilities: A Case for Fiction as Historical Source

Dennis Koelling


Blending a reflection on the historiography of sensibilities in the study of the recent past with a discussion on the relationship between literary criticism and the field of history proper, this paper makes a case for a further engagement with fiction as a historical source by cultural historians. Briefly engaging with the evolution of Raymond Williams' concept of a "structure of feeling" and tracing it to Daniel Wickberg's call for a new history of sensibilities, the article then engages with the field of what Mark Fisher called "capitalist realism" as an object of study that can serve as an example on how to apply the study of fiction in recent history.

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