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19 th Century Novel- English Language
postmortem photographs of their dead.On the one hand. L. a change occurred within the paradigm of realism by looking at Thomas Hardy’s novels and at the number of phantasies written in the same period: ”Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865) plus ”Through the Looking Glass and What She Found There”(1871). 1880s and 1890s the profile of Victorian fiction changed radically. grief and loss were much more prevalent in this period. by Northrop Frye. Hyde” (1886). just as Oscar Wilde’s ”The . which saw men as inevitably determined by the material forces of biological and social evolution. and crafted locks of their hair into elaborate jewellery. People tended to die at home rather than in a hospital. Thomas Hardy subordinated fiction to pessimistic social and philosophical ideas and demonstrated that the Victorian modern world had become an institutionalised hell likely to kill the best people’s dreams. R. ( Like in Swinburne’s “Hymn to Proserpine”. in the mid-twentieth century. less known than Carroll’s books but which can be remembered as the Victorian ”Gulliver’s Travels”. Jekyll and Mr. The Victorians took death masks. funerals were often elaborate. in the wake of the French trend of Naturalism. Signs of death. the gods themselves seemed to be at strife and the competition between religions and cultural paradigms eroded people’s faith in myscellaneous traditions). with Hardy’s fiction. or it entered the age of phantasy after the age of realism. eventually. as theorised. often in open caskets. We can declare that. Samuel Butler’s ”Erewhon” (1872). corpses often remained in the house for days or even weeks. At the same time. public affairs that brought entire neighbourhoods to a standstill.19th century novel Phantasy and the End of the Realistic Paradigm In the 1870s. on the other hand. the seriousness of faiths was left aside and literature began to play all sorts of phantastic games. literature can be shown to have come full circle. a study in psychopathology in the guise of a (medical) science fiction book. pencil sketches and. in the three decades at the end of the Victorian age mentioned. in the first essay of the Anatomy of Criticism: it had returned to the mythical representation of life as a welter of elemental forces that suspended man in their chaos which could barely be held in check by the transcendental heritage and the mythical stories about gods. people were subject to strict codes of mourning which could dictate dress and social behaviour for years. Also. Stevenson’s ”The Strange Case of Dr.
which is both an overview of phanatsies and a classification). G. Rudyard Kipling’s ”Jungle Books” (1894. By contrast to realistic literature. The opening poem declares the natural. it is natural. As is the case with classifications. ”The Woodlanders” (1887). Wells’s ”The Time Machine”(1895). which was equally dedicated to the abysmal psychology motif of the double. ”Tess of the D’Urbervilles” (1891). 1895). According to Tzvetan Todorov’s book on the subject. to the obsession with the limit. whose other narrator is an adult who intends to write a story for children.Picture of Dorian Gray” (1891). therefore. ”Jude the Obscure” (1895). philosophically understood) limit. On the other hand. In Hardy’s novels the change is from acceptance to obsession with the (also. ” The Invisible Man” (1897) and ”The War of the Worlds” (1898). in Romanian) (in which case they are entirely fashioned by imagination and they systematically break the laws of plausibility and mere logic). which cannot be considered to enter any of the classes of separate phantasies. they are uncanny when they expand the limits of familiar reality (and remain quite close to it). ”The Mayor of Casterbridge” (1886). as yet not at all uncanny. phantasies can be situated at the greatest remote from reality when they are written in the genre of the marvellous (miraculosul. who contribute to the winding of the story and who take turns in the way they enable us to focus on the “facts” . or they are genuinely phantastic when they hesitate between worlds (especially when it is impossible to separate in them the marvellous from the uncanny – and from plausible reality. phantasies explore and expand the limits of everydayy reality. in Hardy’s novels. motivations in the writing of the story. very plausible and perfectly normal for children’s stories to give delight. All these were published in parallel with Hardy’s fiction: ”Desperate Remedies” (1871). ”A Pair of Blue Eyes” (1873). In Hardy’s novels we uniformly meet with the literary demonstration of the depressing effects of people struggling with the limit in the modern society. which is exaggerated and cast as adverse Fate in respect to modern man. Todorov’s didactic. Bram Stoker’s ”Dracula” (1897). H. in so far as she is also the subject-actant Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. really. ”Under the Greenwood Tree” (1873). There is a clearly uncanny starting point in the fact that the book adopts a little girl’s perspective and it enables us to consider Alice’s voice as represent a typical intradiegetic narrator. structuralist presentation of phantasy can serve as a good reference point to recognize the complexity of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The acceptance of the limit in people’s lives as demonstrated by the low-mimetic/realistic literary plots through the resolution of the tensions created by the encounter with limitations turns. ”The Return of the Native” (1878). although with obvious aestheticist ”de–moralising” other purposes and means. for that matter). There are two narrators. for the particular child he is writing it.
amounts to the dramatization of dream contents so as to turn them into dream thoughts). interpreted and described by Freud’s treatises.[laid or set] here Childhood’s dreams are twined/In Memory’s mystic band”... very original ways. The effect of this is to situates the book in two worlds at once. a dream-catcher.. The shift from the intra-diegetic to the extra-diegetic narrator (as Gerard Genette has called them) increases the unexpected effects in the unwinding of the narrative. proverbs and lots of English language and Brtitish (cultural) cliches as if they were plausible pictures. but also with mixtures of the two (see the picture-poem imitating the mouse tail/tale in Chapter 3 “A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale”). What we read in Alice’s Adventures is a series of pranks and language games which amount to a pseudonarrative thread (a polyphony of narrative threads.and the story can be seen to drain “The wells of fancy dry. . as catalogued.. is the fact that in Carroll’s book for children we can see literature playing gratuitously. in the logic of dreams.... All of these feats are devised by an adult narrator. who is out to satisfy Alice’s rhetorical question (or wish that she had made at the beginning of the book) : “and what is the use of a book... for example by Coleridge in the Biographia Literaria) that can be seen to “pursue the dream-child moving through a land/Of wonder wild and new”. nevertheless. What lures us into the Wonderland.” “a childish story. according to the rules of the phantastic proper.. this. perhaps. in fact) and to sketches of nonsense verse quotations..of the story.without pictures or conversations?”.. Alice advances from becoming more and more familiar with the logic of things increasingly “out of the way” (which is the opposite of the matter-of-fact or everyday logic) and the text addresses the mind’s most intimate layers of curiosity. because it is the mind itself that is shown to develop its free associations through pictures and conversations handled in unprecedented. with its free associations of words (puns) and images.. its capacity to become dumbfounded and to continue.pictural representations (Both the fiction and the illustrations by the contemporary Sir John Tennies allow us to see a number of characters from nursery rhymes. as we can read in the prefatory poem to this first book: “All in the golden afternoon/Full leisurely we glide”..It is fancy. and endears us to the playful feats and fits of its logic.. In the course of this game. as in older/traditional literary games of either imagination or fancy.. The setting of the book is more than simply symbolic or allegorical. however.. this instance of wishful thinking is fulfilled or nourished plentifully by the amount of “pictures and conversations” secreted by her mind. which gets suffused in “Childhood dreams twined in Memory’s mystic band”. modifications and. rather than any serious or transcendental Romantic imagination (as theorised.. When what uncannily proves only at the end of the story to have been her dream begins.
Victorian contingencies. High-minded Victorianism had been a lay representation of the Romantic tradition. what matters is the engagement of the book with the games of the mind itself and the many unexpected ways in which the reading has managed to disengaged one from the oppressive patterns of everyday experience. than for the demonstration of the writer’s skill. in the wonderland enabled the fictional world to be devoid of the transcendental accents imparted to knowledge by John Henry Newman of the high-minded moral potential lent to culture and the written word by a whole tradition of writers. or realism à rebours. the book threatens its readers. who cares less for the fate of the actors in stories. simulate perfect chaos. But here was to be found the most playfully disinterested approach to the world of British. we are unbearably close to acknowledging the presence of the limit in our lives. To make free with the limits of the contingent world was the reaction to the dire high-seriousness of such late detractors of . or gratuitous and that. in direct proportion with the symbolic and actual threats that Alice is confronted with (for example during the trial scene in the book’s final chapter). There is a threatening kind of marvellous that the book touches at this point. however. which is why one cannot but “explain” the phantastic figurations by very close and detailed text analyses (which would take too much time to deploy). or a complex phantasy experienced according to the best rules of the phantastic hovering between the marvellous and the uncanny. The echoes of actual politics and domestic life are as pleasantly pleasant and uncanny as they could be in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Thus is to be found a new kind of gratuitous literature or disinterestedness in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland than the disinterestedness which John Henry Newman or Matthew Arnold advocated – because Carroll’s distance from reality. contemporary reader. especially. But the book advances even further away from the topics of realistic conversation or its images into conundrums and games that are completely disinterested. Psychoanalytically. reminiscences of Victorian politics and legal actions – which create an anamorphsis of realism. when they are written for children and have happy endings. which is in keeping with the uncanny as circumscribed by many of Freud’s writings about literature. even when they are regarded as embodiments of universal actants. or unmotivated. this means we may have been taken to the zone of the Id or Unconscious – and traditionally. It is at this point that the book ends. At this point. For an adult. from Carlyle onwards. with only childish echoes of its sound and fury.The text consists of a thick cloud of reminiscences of Victorian formal and familiar education and of conversation or games. in the Victorian age. as all books should do. by settling the mixture of phantasy and reality through several plausible actions and explanations and reducing the threatening potential of phantasy drastically. in fact.
Dystopian texts launch symbolically violent attacks upon the adulterated. the anonymous protagonist of the book. the last part of Gulliver’s Travels. (Utopias have a complete panoramic. of actual people and mores. is a perfect demonstration of the way values are both actually criticized and fictionally invested with phantastic meanings. as in myths and other initiatory stories and it is cast as a development of the tumultuous Alph river at the beginning of Coleridge’s Kubla Khan. just as in Gulliver. however. IN satire. The fictional or satirical vehicle for Butler’s Erewhon is. gets applied to the whole of Victorian society in Samuel Butler’s Erewhon. in Gulliver’s Travels. This kind of literature was gratuitous on the horizontal contingent axis. To get to Erewhon. characteristically for utopias. which moves to the other extreme from the utopian ideas that extend man’s powers beyond the actual limitations of life and presents a dystopian world which prefidiously inverts values. between the future and the past – the traveller from our world will encounter the images in a reverse mirror of the Victorian world. as all phantastic stories will. Everything is inverted. traditionalist brand of phantasy. Just when the high-minded late Victorians had discovered a bleak seriousness (see the view of modern life in Dickens’s novel Bleak House very comparable with Hardy’s indictments of institutions and of hypocrite people in all his novels) the despair with the limit led to the establishment of a phantastic paradigm. In satire. dangerous passage has to be forced. who is a mere pretext for the description of the phantastic world in the direly marvellous sense. that seems to hover. The idea of progress has been gotten rid of: there is a cemetery of . There is no trace of childish imagination mixing up fairytale characters and actual classes. was to be found an older. Swift’s inverted. a dangerous trip has to effect the severing of worlds. mentalities. phantasy is a sequel to categorical criticism of the existing institutions. the passage is like the ritual passage through death and beyond it. or houhnhyms. In the Victorian age. live among the Nosnibors.Victorianism and its modern values as Thomas Hardy’s was. Once arrived in the world of the beyond. and make bosom friends with their daughter Arowhena. customs or institutions in the reverse picture of reality. universal scope and so have dystopias). To get over the range (as in Butler’s subtitle) a secret. biting satire creates frightening world-panoramas. Swift’s satire. In fiction. a trip undertaken beyond the limits of the world. their equivalent of savage. gets turned into a fashionable locus horrendus of literature. exhausted forms and institutions of human experience. which had already become a time-honoured literary genre by the time of the Victorian 19th century. however. symbolically violent because savagely critical picture of mankind in the image of the yahoos as being so much worse creatures than the ideal horses.
but just a sequence of inverted scenes actuated under the eyes of a gullible protagonist. Whereas in Alice’s Adventures. there are birth formulae to be signed by the souls who agree to be born into this eugenic world. all of them healthy. it was the processes of the mind while it was allowed to ramble from one delightful association to another that mattered most. as a species of phantastic literature. wealthy and wise.. IN next lecture we shall deal with the more restricted. as the stock-protagonist of all satires. in which it is the unborn souls’ desire to come into the world that is controlled. The narratological elements are mere pegs or pretexts on which to hang the canvasses of ideas. actually?). IN a reverse model of birth-control. There is no genuine hovering between ontological levels of existence in satirical literature as a species of phantasy.IN this post-Darwinian and dystopian allegory of the world. Satire is a tool for circumscribing evil imaginatively and for criticising adult ideas and adult world experience. Dystopia embraces in its satirical effect whole worlds. There is no genuine fictional development of character or situation. all the invention derives from the art of reversing the one-to-one correspondences of allegories. Nature has been given free hand for selecting the fittest individuals. so that they do not accuse their parents for conceiving them. . dark side of commonplace logi. material living conditions take precedence over transcendence. as a fanciful work of the imagination. when a sense of insufficient maturity settles in so as to correct by irony the contents of experience.. by contrast to less pretentious phantasies which focus on particular sources of evil in the world or in man.. just as there are straighteners who flog all people who break the law. In the dystopian universe. where all the easily recognizable Victorian age ideas and conversations are inverted to show the deceitful. There is absolutely nothing meant to improve upon the Erewhonians’ consummate stage of evolution (or is it involution. but usually much more poignant phantasies than the flat. allegorical satire can be. that matters most. churches are termed musical banks because the peace of the soul can be bought in them by otherwise very self-satisfied middle-class entrepreneurs who can go there for a give and take of money that has no market value whatsoever. No clocks or other technical implements are allowed by magistrates who watch over the life in the public realm.broken machinery that he discovers in a first encounter. in Erewhon it is obviously the allegorical magical circle of the book’s setting.