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3.1 the Victorian Age(dickens)


Critical Realism and the Victorian Age:
injustice, reform, women writers

1837年维多利亚女王(Queen Victoria, 1819-1901)登基。在她统治时期,英国一 度取得世界贸易和工业的垄断地位,科学、 文化、艺术出现繁荣的局面。 ? Victorian morality
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The Victorian Age (1832-1902)
a time of profound changes: class structure (the rich bourgeoisie, the proletariat) world empire (Expansion of national economy and colonial territory , workshop and London became the world’s bank. The pivocal city of Western civilization moved from Paris to London. Human knowledge also make major advances that inevitably posed as a direct challenge to the authority of religion.
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The early Victorian Period (18321848): Cried for Democracy The Mid-Victorian period(1948-70): Economic prosperity and Man dwarfed by his knowledge The late Victorian period (18701901): Decline of the Empire

poets
? 注重形式的典雅,对诗艺精益求精。 ? Robert Browning (罗伯特· 布朗宁, 18121889):dramatic monologue,《皮帕走过 了》(Pippa Passes)、《指环与书》 (The Ring and the Book)

? Alfred Tennyson(阿尔弗雷德· 丁尼生, 1809-1892)《悼念》(In Memoriam A. H. H)

critic
? Socialism & anxiety。 ? 马修· 阿诺德(Matthew Arnold, 1822-1888) 敏锐地捕捉到时代的脉搏,在《写于雄伟的卡 尔特寺院的诗章》(Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse )中揭示了人们的处境: “彷徨在两个世界之间,一个已经死去,另一 个无力诞生。” ? 阿诺德是19世纪英国人文主义文学批评的杰出 代表,他有关文学与文化的论 述对后世影响 很大。

? 19世纪末迎来英国戏剧的复兴。 ? 英国戏剧在18世纪除了哥尔德斯密斯的《屈身求爱》 (She Stoops to Conquer)与理查德· 布林斯利· 谢里登 (Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1751-1816)的讽刺喜剧 《造谣学校》(The School for Scandal)之外,没有太 多的建树。在随后的一百年间,英国戏剧一直处于低迷状 态。 ? 到了19世纪90年代,在易卜生等欧洲大陆剧作家的影响下, 英国发 生了新戏运动,戏剧才摆脱了衰退、萎顿的状况, 呈现欣欣向荣的景象。喜剧天才奥斯卡· 王尔德(Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)的风俗喜剧对上层社会进行揶揄讽刺, 妙语连珠,充满似非而是的怪论、机智诙谐的俏皮话。萧 伯纳(George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950)以易卜生为榜 样,倡导一种有思想的“问题剧”,将社会问题引入剧坛, 使戏剧走向现实。萧伯纳一生写了许多优秀的剧本,如 《皮格马利 翁》(Pygmalion)、《圣女贞德》(Saint Joan )等。他擅长表现舞台对话,人物语言锐利、简洁、 风趣。王尔德和萧伯纳是戏剧复兴的里程碑,他们的戏剧 创作活动使英国剧坛发生根本的变化,一改英国戏剧百 年 不振的局面。

drama

novelists
? ? ? ? ? Dickens Bronte and other women writers William Makepeace Thackray Thomas Hardy ….

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the novels of Charles Dickens are a vehicle for morals regarding the social and economic system of Victorian Britain.

moral impacts
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a frequent critic of didacticism in fiction novelist widely perceived in his time as a didactic writer

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Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
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Pickwick Papers(1836-1837) Oliver Twist (1837) Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841) A Christmas Carol (1843) Dombey and Son (1846-1848) David Copperfield (1850) A Tale of Two Cities (1859) Great Expectation (1861)

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minor working-class satirical periodical called Dickens "not only a romancer" but a "mighty preacher."

Samuel Johnson
In a 1750 Rambler article, defined fiction as essentially didactic, in part because of the force of its familiar examples in inspiring emulation, and in part because of the inherent mental openness of its common readers. ? "the young, the ignorant, and the idle" as the intended audience
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"knowledge of vice and virtue"
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that these novelistic examples impart comes with a surcharge of authority that Johnson implies derives not only from the youthful mind's unformed state but also from the fictional medium itself

transmitting morality
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were shared by many late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writers who turned to the writing of fiction in order both to convey religious teachings and to uphold the existing social and political order.

Dickens
? revised

these assumptions about the formative effects of reading fiction in order to devise his own brand of didactic fiction

new form of didacticism
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to undermine the authority of religious fictions in order to appropriate their project to shape, and even to reconstitute, the ideas and actions of the reader in the service of achieving larger moral, political, and social goals.

Oliver Twist
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draws most overtly on the model of the didactic tracts by providing negative monitory examples. Bad associations, in the case of Nancy, or crime, in the case of Fagin and his gang, result in suffering and death.

?Dickens lived at the beginning of the Industrial Age, when information itself became industrialized—routinely recorded, reproduced, and (even when hidden) preserved on a vast scale for subsequent generations to discover.

celebrity
?Dickens was “a true celebrity (maybe the first true celebrity in the modern sense)”— and the first writer, therefore, to feel the intense pressure of being simultaneously an artist and an object of unremitting public interest and adulation. ?Dickens Our Contemporary

Celebrity is not the same thing as fame
?There were English writers before Dickens who were famous in their own lifetimes, But they did not cultivate or exploit their fame, and it didn't take over their entire lives, as celebrity always threatens to do.

?Celebrity entails a certain collaboration and complicity on the part of the subject. It can bring great material rewards and personal satisfactions, but at a cost: the transformation of one's “self” into a kind of commodity.

conditions
?It requires conditions that did not exist before the Industrial Revolution hit its stride: fast and flexible means of production, transportation, and communication, which circulate the work widely and bring the author into actual or virtual contact with his or her audience.

?The two greatest novelists of the generation before Dickens—Jane Austen and Walter Scott—both published their novels anonymously . ?Even Dickens began by writing under a pseudonym, but he discarded it fairly quickly.

being famous and being a celebrity
?It is Dickens who stands symbolically on the threshold of the modern literary era, and whose career embodies the difference between being famous and being a celebrity.

“celebrity”
?The very word “celebrity” as a concrete noun, applied to persons, entered the language only in the mid nineteenth century. The first citation in the Oxford English Dictionary is dated 1849—the year Dickens published David Copperfield and stood unchallenged as the greatest and most popular writer of his age.

a brilliant entrepreneur as well as an artist
?he transformed the methods of publishing fiction and thus changed the possibilities of authorship for his contemporaries and his successors.

Publication in parts and magazine serialization,
?pioneered by Dickens, became the standard form for the initial publication of novels in the Victorian age, and it is one reason why he and other writers of high literary quality, such as William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, and Elizabeth Gaskell, commanded a vast audience.

?The serialized Victorian novel was something between a mini-series and a soap opera, its installments often appearing over a period of more than a year. ?feedback from the audience could affect the development of the story and the roles of the characters.

?Toward the end of the century this solidarity between literary novelists and the reading public began to disintegrate.

Celebrity: a curse as well as a blessing
?the relentless glare of publicity, the intrusiveness of American journalists, and the impossibility of securing any peace and privacy for himself and his wife, Catherine (who had reluctantly accompanied him), became too much.

disillusionment on both sides
?Dickens became uneasy, irritable, and openly critical of the host country. His bitter complaints about American publishers' pirating of his work, however justified they may now appear to us, were not well received. The euphoria of his initial reception turned to sourness, with disillusionment on both sides.

defenses and disguises
?Modern novelists have developed various defenses and disguises-limited point of view, impersonal or unreliable narrators, metafictional tricks of all kinds—to deter readers from making simplistic inferences about the author from his work.

But
?the omniscient authorial voice favored by Dickens and most other Victorian novelists encouraged their readers to feel that the text they held in their hands was a direct line to a real human being; that the “Charles Dickens” whose name appeared on the title page of the novel was identical with the man who actually wrote the book.

? When the real author encounters real readers, the experience can be uncomfortable on both sides.

celebrity was not forced upon him
?He invited it and, most of the time, enjoyed it. ?It satisfied an element in his character that delighted in public performance and roleplaying. He “believed he had more talent for the drama than for literature, as he certainly had more delight in acting than in any other work whatever.”

in his life and in his work
?attitude to love, marriage, and sexuality is a complex and puzzling subject. ? his choice of Catherine Hogarth as a wife ?after twenty-one years, ten children, and several miscarriages—he told her maid to erect a partition in their bedroom so that they could sleep apart. That was in 1857, the year he met Nelly Ternan.

not a single word about physical sexuality
?Extreme reticence on this aspect of human behavior was of course compulsory for all Victorian novelists ?does not seem to have chafed under the constraint. His imagination was exceptionally chaste.

Women images
? that normal women didn't have sexual appetites and put up with men's for the sake of matrimony and motherhood. ?His heroines are either childlike or saintly, pre-sexual or asexual (Dora and Agnes, in David Copperfield, are prime examples of each type, and Amy Dorrit combines the two).

In life
?Dickens's most intense emotional relationships were with younger, virginal women. ? midlife crisis: the peculiar psychological pressures he suffered as artist, entrepreneur, and celebrity

most memorable characters
?are all morally flawed, if not outright villains

?Writing fiction, is a way of imposing order on the chaotic flux of experience, to make it comprehensible and to project a vision of what it should or might be ? Dickens tried to make the real world correspond to his fictionally ordered version of it.

Outward and inward
?To outward appearance he succeeded to an astonishing degree; but inwardly he was disappointed and unfulfilled in two aspects of his life: the affective and the erotic. In Nelly Ternan he saw a last chance to make up for this lack and seized it, putting in jeopardy the whole edifice of bourgeois respectability he had laboriously constructed.

Negative criticism
? Although Dickens was the greatest of Victorian novelists, he failed to “give us their psychological character.” ? the rather humorless and puritanical school of the critic F. R. Leavis (he famously dismissed Dickens as an “entertainer” in The Great Tradition [1948], though he offered a more generous estimate later), inhibited critical appreciation of Dickens.

?our postmodernist age is more receptive to his kind of “flat,” larger-than-life, often grotesque characterization.

The Pickwick Papers (1836-37)
? is now best known for having inaugurated the Victorian novel. novels tended to take a single form: often illustrated, often serialized, invariably realist, and almost always socially engaged. ? It was the first novel to think through the relation between realism and social reform.

? Generations of critics have argued that realism's expansion of the novelistic sphere of representation was continuous with reform's expansion of the social sphere of concern; in this account, the novel's attention to social problems quite literally helped to solve them.

? the realist novel, no less than the reformist investigation, uses representation as a form of social control. But what if realism and reform were not so neatly aligned? What if they were at odds with one another instead?

as a reformer
? Of all the nineteenth-century novelists, Dickens is the one we most often think of as a reformer ? the possible parallels between his realist writings and the writings of reform.

temperance reform
? served to justify industrial capitalism, that it served as a form of social control. ? But upon discovering this, Dickens struggled against it and developed the narrative form in keeping with his political commitments.

? any particular instance is not an isolated instance, but rather part of a general phenomenon

? literary forms were more effective than socialscientific ones in creating sympathy or, in the case of temperance reform, identification.

conservative
? He preferred workers the way he preferred Victorian women: grateful for favors received, humble, patient, and passive. Conversely, although he understood the profound inequality and exploitativeness of Victorian society, Dickens feared the consequences of workers

gender and class connections
? women in Dickens function as a close metaphor for workers. It was important for the author that male workers and their mates be saved from themselves.

troubled women
? The sympathetic reader will come to understand and eventually forgive the craziness, coldness, or callousness of such troubled women as Mrs. Joe, Miss Havisham, Molly, and Estella. For these characters are no match for the novel's true villains: Joe's father, Compeyson, Drummle, and Orlick are genuine bad guys. They beat, abuse, or kill other people, usually women.

typical and rather conservative of his day
? as a male novelist, ? First, Dickens wrote as if he believed a woman's place was mostly in the home, doing domestic things and supporting her husband.

? Second, Dickens is unsympathetic with women who socially rebel and who have public causes.

? Third, as to female sexuality, Dickens's women are passive (for example, Biddy) or, as in the case of Miss Haversham, Mrs. Joe, and Molly, they have raging hormones and spell trouble. For a variety of reasons, women in Dickens who exhibit passion of any kind are tortured by other women or abused by men, perhaps because Dickens himself began to become more and more a misogamist as his marriage to Catherine fell apart.

? Fourth, some women in Dickens's novels just get in the way--of men, that is. We see a few of these women in Hard Times.

? Fifth, apparently Dickens believed that a man's nature, his psychological, emotional, and intellectual makeup, differs inherently from that of a woman. That is, men are rough and injurious; women are capable of healing.


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