A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian - download pdf or read online

By Clyde De L. Ryals

ISBN-10: 0814205224

ISBN-13: 9780814205228

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Extra resources for A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian Literature

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As the Manager of the Performance says, they are puppets offer­ Vanity Fair: Transcendental Buffoonery 43 ing a "singular performance" (p. 6). The "famous little Becky Puppet," "the Amelia Doll,' "the Dobbin Figure," "the richlydressed figure of the Wicked Nobleman" (p. 6)—all are at the mercy of the author-manager: their life is in him, and when he chooses, they must inevitably retire from the stage. "Come chil­ dren," he says at the end, apparently to his readers who have witnessed the drama, "let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out" (p.

The quest for conditional accommodations for what the poet characteristically calls "soul" is discernible throughout his work, from the "princi­ ple of restlessness" iterated in his first published poem (Pauline [1833], 1. )1 Early on, Browning had envisioned his career as a kind of pilgrimage on the road to the Absolute, his poems being stages 48 The Way of Browning's "Christmas-Eve" 49 providing points of departure for the next steps forward. He was fully aware, however, that the Absolute would never be attained.

In life, however, such determinations are more problematical, because we can never have in our possession all or, frequently, even an adequate number of facts to make considered judgments possible. To prove his point the author calls upon us to decide certain matters. For example, did Becky kill Jos Osborne? Did she com­ mit adultery with Lord Steyne? What did old Osborne want to say before he died? " (p. 24). " (p. 517). " (p. 538). Questions such as these are scattered through­ out the text. We are not told the answers, and consequently we shall never be sure what they are; at best we can have only a kind of moral intuition about them.

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


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