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Gothic Romance

A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian by Clyde De L. Ryals

By Clyde De L. Ryals

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Additional resources for A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian Literature (Studies in Victorian Life and Literature)

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He knows that literature is not life, and he wants us to have a like awareness. By constantly breaking the fictional illusion in order to address his audience, he deprives us of the comfort to be derived solely from reading for the plot. He wants us, as he asks of a reader of another of his novels, to "take the trouble to look under the stream of the story" (Ray, Letters 2:457). In fiction, he effectively suggests, it is easy for the reader to make judgments, especially if, as is usually the case, he is guided by the author to certain conclusions.

P. 140]), and as a keen "ob­ server of human nature** (p. 152). Yet this particularized "I" can upon occasion become the generalized " T here introduced to personify the world in general" (p. 350). This confusion about the proper identity of the "I" is re­ flected in the narrative process, which is chiefly characterized by frequent interruptions of the story that serve to break the fictional illusion. First, the narrator never lets us forget that he is indeed the Manager of the Performance and manipulator of the characters and the situations in which they are engaged.

VANITY FAIR Transcendental Buffoonery Unlike Carlyle's, Thackeray's interest in the process of becoming lies less in its manifestations in cataclysmic, revolutionary events than in its movements in society and in social classes. In his works time creates and time destroys, but it is never explosive. Even where momentous episodes of history occur in his fictions, they are always in the background, serving as backdrops in front of which more local incidents of change take place. As the nar­ rator in Pendennis observes, "When we talk of this man or that woman being no longer the same person .

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