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One of the first innovations of realist stage design was in the shape of the stage itself. Traditionally, stage sets did not reproduce the dimensions of actual rooms but included a backcloth and stage wings. Realist stage sets, however, began to include a "box" shape, reproducing the dimensions of an actual room, with a ceiling and three walls—the fourth wall being open to face the audience. The first "box set" stage design was utilized by English actress and singer Madame Vestris in Realist set design, costuming, and use of props were further characterized by excessive attention to the reproduction of realistic details from everyday life.

The realist productions of the English dramatist T. Robertson came to be called "cup-and-saucer" dramas, because they often included scenes of family meals in which the actors actually ate. Other realist productions included live animals. The American producer David Belasco , for example, once brought a real flock of sheep onto stage in a religious play. Although the dominant works of realist literature were novels, the innovations of realist theater during the s and s exerted a profound and lasting influence on all aspects of playwriting and theatrical production throughout the twentieth century.

In the following essay, Reed explores Dickens's use of metonymy, the naming of a thing by one of its attributes. Very early in Oliver Twist , Oliver makes the famous blunder of begging for more food, an offense that promptly brings him before the board of commissioners of the workhouse. When Bumble the beadle confirms that Oliver has asked for more after consuming the supper allotted by the dietary, "the man in the white waistcoat" declares: "That boy will be hung. I know that boy will be hung. The gentleman in the white waistcoat asserts himself again: "'I never was more convinced of anything in my life,' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat, as he knocked at the gate and read the bill next morning: 'I never was more convinced of anything in my life, than I am, that that boy will come to be hung'.

Dickens does not drop the subject; instead, the narrator emphasizes his own relationship to the diegesis, linking his narrative task to the claims of the gentleman in the white waistcoat: "As I purpose to show in the sequel whether the white-waistcoated gentleman was right or not, I should perhaps mar the interest of this narrative supposing it to possess any at all , if I ventured to hint, just yet, whether the life of Oliver Twist had this violent termination or no.

How much can be expected of a child born in a workhouse and brought up on the rates at the mercy of a penny-wise middle-class bureaucracy? Poverty and squalor are more likely to produce a criminal than a law-abiding citizen among any orphans who happen to survive the conditions of the workhouse. Nonetheless, the narrator's obvious sympathy for Oliver from the outset makes it unlikely that he will progress to the gallows.

Thus the narrator's coy positioning of himself in relation to the gentleman in the white waistcoat seems to constitute an opposition, not a conundrum. At this point in the narrative, the narrator already knows the outcome of his narrative; the gentleman with the white waistcoat does not. He is simply confident that he does. Two unnamed individuals-the narrator and the man in the white waistcoat-present their forms of authority before their mutual audience, the novel's readers. But this anonymous character has not finished his part in Oliver's drama. As chapter 3 begins, the narrator comments that, if the imprisoned Oliver had taken the gentleman with the white waistcoast's "sage advice," he would have hanged himself in his cell with his pocket handkerchief, except for the fact that, handkerchiefs being luxuries, workhouse boys have no access to them.

This is an interesting proleptic moment, for a major part of the trade to which Fagin apprentices Oliver in London is the stealing of pocket handkerchiefs, potentially a hanging offense. So this apparent aside has a resonance known only to the narrator. This is a secret bit of metonymy-the luxury of handkerchiefs equals crime-that prepares for a similar metonymy involving the white waistcoat. Moreover, the connection to Fagin is not accidental, for the man in the white waistcoat acts for Oliver much in the way the Artful Dodger does-as an agent for a potential employer. He encourages Gamfield the chimney sweep, "exactly the sort of master Oliver Twist wanted," to apply for the boy and even becomes his advocate, introducing him to the board.

Limbkin, the head of the board of commissioners, realizes what a dangerous and revolting occupation chimney sweeping is for the boys who must climb up the flues, and he expresses some sympathy along those lines, enough to drive a hard financial bargain with Gamfield. However, the sale of Oliver to the vile chimney sweep is prevented accidentally by a magistrate who is distracted from his doze and notices the terror in Oliver's face. He sends Oliver back to the workhouse with instructions that he be treated kindly.

The gentleman in the white waistcoat seems to be one of those gratuitous items that occur in Dickens's narratives, items that do not seem to have any integral function but merely extend or enhance a given situation. The man in the white waistcoat might be an intensifier, since he not only endorses the board's treatment of Oliver but seems to relish it with sadistic enjoyment.

However, I suggest that the gentleman in the white waistcoat carries out a much more important function in the novel and is far from incidental because he illustrates what I take to be a conscious narrative technique that Dickens employs to distance his work from what we normally identify as realist fiction. Moreover, I believe that Dickens understood the rules for what came to be recognized as realism and that he purposely violated them for his own ends. In Hidden Rivalries in Victorian Fiction: Dickens, Realism, and Revaluation , Jerome Meckier places Dickens in the realist camp and argues that the major writers he examines—Dickens, Trollope, Gaskell, Eliot, Collins—were involved in a sly "realism war"; he declares that "the novelists themselves—professed realists all—read and reread one another" and then went on to overcome the version of realism of their competitors, most notably Dickens 2.

Dickens had to respond in this war by reasserting his brand of realism in a constantly new way. But what I am suggesting is that Dickens's mode of evading the challenges of these contemporary rivals was to go beyond realism, to incorporate in his writings subversions of realism's stylistic assumptions to which they adhered.

Many able critical studies, from John Romano's Dickens and Reality on, have argued pointedly that Dickens's fiction draws as much from romance, fairy tale, and allegory as it does from the mimetic tradition. Richard Lettis puts the situation well:. Above all, he thought that writing should enable the reader to see the essential affirmative "truth" of life—this was for him the best that writing could achieve. He disliked the obvious, and approved always of subtlety, but knew that judicious use of the commonplace, of carefully selected detail, could bring reality to a story—but it must always be the kind of reality he found in drama: "wonderful reality"—the world as we know it, but "polished by art" until it assumed values not felt in the dull settled world itself.

For him reality was not what it was to the realists; it was neither commonplace as in Howells nor sordid as in so many others. In a hostile evaluation of Dickens's career David Musselwhite depicts a Dickens who begins as a truly original narrator in the role of Boz but transforms himself into a commodified author. He sees the anarchic, transparent world of Boz, along with some later passages, such as the description of Jacob's Island in Oliver Twist and of the Fleet Prison in Pickwick as preferable to the mannered prose of Bleak House ,asinthe description of New Bleak House. The earlier work is impersonal and transparent in tone, whereas the later work is involved with the play of language itself, calling attention to itself.

In a way, Musselwhite claims that Boz started as a realist and Dickens turned into a nonrealist, whatever we want to call that other entity. But again, my argument here is that Dickens became increasingly aware of how the various tropes of narration operated in what we call realism and he did not wish to be contained within those limits.

Moreover, there are many moments in Boz's Sketches where Dickens has already grasped this notion. Hillis Miller showed in " Sketches by Boz, Oliver Twist , and Cruikshank's Illustrations" that what critics and readers had so long accepted as precise reportage in the Sketches must be read in a different way: "The Sketches are not mimesis of an externally existing reality, but the interpretation of that reality according to highly artificial schemas inherited from the past" And again: "The metonymic associations which Boz makes are fancies rather than facts, impositions on the signs he sees of stock conventions, not mirroring but interpretations, which is to say lie" Miller indicates that Dickens was at least partially conscious of his own methods in the way he organized the Sketches for book publication: "The movement from Scene to Character to Tale is not the metonymic process authenticating realistic representation but a movement deeper and deeper into the conventional, the concocted, the schematic" What happens as Dickens matures as a writer is that he does become more conscious of the play of language itself because he learns to use language in craftier ways.

To recognize the double-edge of metonymy, for example, provides him with a powerful tool not merely for narration but for complexity of theme. To connect patterns of metonymy over whole novels is to raise his narrative from simple realism to a style that prefigures the leitmotif technique of Richard Wagner in music, or Thomas Mann 's application of that technique to fiction, perhaps most self-consciously in Doctor Faustus. Mussel-white complains that in his description of Carker's room in Dombey and Son Dickens has moved away from surfaces and textures towards a concentration on inner malignity and thus heavily loads its details against Carker.

But that is the point! Plain realism could describe the room and associate certain objects with malign intent, let us say, but Dickens goes beyond that to characterize the objects as metonymic of Carker's inner condition. It is the reverse of what the realist seeks to accomplish. I cannot here go into detail about the mimetic tradition. It would be possible to discuss Dickens's departure from that tradition in his use of naming characters and places, his methods of description, and his stylistic redundancy, but, for the purposes of this essay, I would like to focus on one aspect of realism that seems to have received general agreement among critics over the years.

That is the connection of metonymy with realist technique. Because metonymy is important in defining realism, I intend to show that Dickens used this trope in a manner contrary to its customary use in realist writing. Roman Jakobson formulated this identification of metonymy with realism when he opposed it to metaphor, which he allied to poetry:.

The primacy of the metaphoric process in the literary schools of romanticism and symbolism has been repeatedly acknowledged, but it is still insufficiently realized that it is the predominance of metonymy which underlies and actually predetermines the so-called "realistic" trend, which belongs to an intermediary stage between the decline of romanticism and the rise of symbolism and is opposed to both.

Following the path of contiguous relationships, the realistic author metonymically digresses from the plot to the atmosphere and from the characters to the setting in space and time. He is fond of synechdochic details. Virginia Woolf in her own way had already established the linkage of metonymy and realism in "Mr. Bennett and Mrs.

Brown," with the purpose of showing its limitations. She divides up the writers of her day into Edwardians and Georgians, the former representing the realism of the past, the latter the modernism of the future.

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Bennett is one of the former, whose tools, Woolf says, no longer work for the present generation. The chief of these tools was elaborate description, so that character could be determined by what the human being was associated with among inanimate things. She concludes:. That is what I mean by saying that the Edwardian tools are the wrong ones for us to use. They have laid an enormous stress upon the fabric of things. They have given us a house in the hope that we may be able to deduce the human beings who live there.

To give them their due, they have made that house much better worth living in. But if you hold that novels are in the first place about people, and only in the second about the houses they live in, that is the wrong way to set about it. Recently, Harry Shaw has examined the history of this relationship in some detail. He accepts Jakobson's ordering of metonymy with realism but extends the idea along his own lines:. To the extent, then, that we imagine ourselves back into a situation in which we can take seriously the claims of figural realism to capture the real, we find ourselves conceiving of the connections it makes as metonymical in nature.

After Dante, figural realism appears to be founded in a species of metaphor-as does much of the literature we most prize. But that is because our culture's sense of the real has itself shifted. I draw from this the following moral, which extends Jakobson's contention that metonymy is the trope characteristic of nineteenth-century prose fiction: the defining trope of all realisms is metonymy-but it is metonymy as defined in the light of the ontology to which a given realism appeals.

If we return to our model of realism, then, I am suggesting that the mechanism that connects different levels in modern realism is a historicist metonymy. This metonymy assumes as many inflections as there are realist novelists. There are many ways in which realism does not and cannot conform to its own largely unwritten rules.

Bruce Robbins has shown, for example, that British realism scarcely represents an entire part of the population. There are few significant representatives of "the people" in this literature, and, ironically, when "the people" are represented, it is servants, dependents within the households and thus extensions of their masters, who stand in for the lower classes.

Robbins claims that servants are not even depicted as genuine representatives of their historical context but fulfill roles that existed in the earliest sources of Western literature, such as Greek drama. Servants thus serve an almost symbolic role in representing the rebellious, resistant, and otherwise challenging forces arrayed against the master class. For the most part, Robbins argues, realist novelists did not try to offer a genuine picture of the lower classes, but fell back upon a trusty convention.

In a more recent study, Katherine Kearns argues that realism surreptitiously and unconsciously evokes those elements of experience that it seeks to repress. She has several different formulations of this idea, but here is one: "Realism's doubled intuitions for the social and the ineffable ensure both that the sublime will make itself attractive and that its attractions will be appropriately chastised; one ends up with authorial gestures that simultaneously acknowledge and repudiate the seductions of the sublime" Many other studies indicate various qualifications of realism's claims to true mimesis.

In a similar fashion, critics writing specifically on Dickens have examined ways in which his narratives must be seen as standing to one side of the realist tradition. Dickens is not aiming primarily at the examination of internal states of mind but wishes to show that his characters are part of a larger community.

Interiority is thus hostile to the communal drive of his narratives and is therefore associated primarily with villains and their like, a practice inherited from the stage, especially in its melodramatic modes. My claim here, then, is not that I am making an original observation when I say that Dickens should not be placed within the mainstream realist tradition, if such a thing really exists, but that he appropriated devices associated with realism and used them to ends that operate against the realist program.

Again, I do not mean to say that he defined himself against realism but that by hindsight we can recognize that he was resisting a mode of representation that came to dominance in fiction during his lifetime, fueled largely by the popularity of Sir Walter Scott 's fiction. Elsewhere, I examine different ways in which Dickens sets himself against or outside of realist practice, but here I shall concentrate on the one feature of metonymy, and that returns us to the issue of the gentleman in the white waistcoat in Oliver Twist.

I have chosen the gentleman in the white waistcoat as my example because he is so rudimentary and he appears so early in Dickens's career. Dickens used metonymic devices brilliantly in his earliest writings. The clothes bear the traces of a former life. Of course, this is the reverse of how metonymy usually works, where an article of clothing might indicate a person's function. A prominent example is the scene in Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd where Gabriel Oak goes to the market to find work as a farm agent only to encounter employers seeking shepherds instead.

Oak identifies himself as a potential agent by wearing middle-class clothing, but changes to his shepherd's smock, hoping to find a place as a shepherd through this new identifying attire, only ironically to be passed over by an employer who is looking for an agent. Clothes mark the man. The gentleman in the white waistcoat is interesting because he remains nameless and is identified chiefly by this one article of clothing and by his vicious sentiments.

This is all the more striking since Dickens had declared in Sketches by Boz that viewing the exterior of a person was a surer guarantee of comprehending his character than written description can provide, thus to offer almost no description at all must be seen not as a disclaimer as it is in the Sketches , where Boz amusingly goes on to provide the description he says is unnecessary but as a conscious strategy.

The gentleman in Oliver is thus entirely surface to us. We get no physical description of him as we do of Gamfield in detail to indicate his viciousness. We have just that white waistcoat as a token of his identity. Does the whiteness of the waistcoat signify anything, let us say, like the whiteness of Moby Dick, a whiteness Melville's narrator himself opens to multiple interpretations? Let us begin with the social significance of the waistcoat.

Early life and influences

Dickens knew about waistcoats and in his early manhood favored elaborate examples. Willett Cunnington and Phillis Cunnington in their Handbook of English Costume in the Nineteenth Century note that in the s and s the waistcoat had become quite dramatic, with Dandies wearing all colors of the rainbow. One might assume that, though this gentleman had white waistcoats, they were not necessarily plain, since many waistcoats described as white were of elegant fabrics, such as silk or satin.

In the early part of the century a white satin embroidered waistcoat with gold thread was a standard article of Court dress. The Exquisites of the s wore white waistcoats with elaborate costumes. Here are two examples quoted by the Cunningtons from magazines of the time:. In a light brown coat, white waistcoat, nankin pantaloons buttoned at the ankle with two gold buttons, yellow stockings with large violet clocks, shoes with buckles of polished cut steel. Anne Buck points out that waistcoats, where "[m]ost of the colour and ornament of men's dress was concentrated," often "showed the fabrics and colours and woven and printed designs fashionable in the materials of women's dress" Many of the waistcoats that survive from the nineteenth century were wedding waistcoats often "in white or cream figured silk, or white silk embroidered" It seems, then, that white waistcoats were quite a common feature of men's dress both for formal occasions, such as weddings and court appearances, and for ordinary use.

Apparently a great deal depended upon the materials out of which these waistcoats were fashioned and the cut of their design. But Dickens tells us nothing more about the man in the white waistcoat's waistcoat except that it is white. The whole man thus depends upon this overwhelmingly identifying physical object and his dialogue, or nearly so. But I shall return to that in a minute. First I want to indicate that this trait in Dickens's method of characterization stayed with him throughout his career and took on interesting variations. I shall mention just a couple of instances here because my space is limited.

Constructed Realities In The Age Of Photography

In Little Dorrit , Merdle is intimidated by his butler, who is a grave and sober man, far more refined than his master. It is in Merdle's interest to demonstrate to Society all the trappings of wealth and high social status:. The chief butler was the next magnificent institution of the day. He was the stateliest man in company. He did nothing, but he looked on as few other men could have done.

He was Mr. Merdle's last gift to Society. Merdle didn't want him, and was put out of countenance when the great creature looked at him; but inappeasable Society would have him—and had got him. To this point, what we apparently have is some sharp social satire. Merdle's inferiority to his own servant makes a mockery of his supposed power. The butler should metonymically serve as a manifestation of the household to accomplish realist ends.

And he does, except that in this case he does so ironically. So it would appear that this brief passage fulfills a realist purpose, though any reader should be wary of so quickly accepting it in that way, since it occurs in a chapter where the guests at Merdle's home are named as Treasury, Bar, and Bishop and fulfill typical, not individual, functions. Later we encounter Merdle wandering through his great house with "no apparent object but escape from the presence of the chief butler.

Something similar happens in Great Expectations when Pip, feeling the need to confirm his status as a gentleman, hires an unneeded servant whose name is Pepper. In what might be mistaken as the typical metonymic device of associating character and social rank with clothing, Pip begins, "I had got so fast of late, that I had even started a boy in boots"—signifying that the boy's status as a servant is indicated by his livery, which Pip goes on to describe—"and had clothed him with a blue coat, canary waistcoat, white cravat, creamy breeches, and the boots already mentioned.

He says that he is "in bondage and slavery" after he has "made this monster.

Fiction in the Age of Photography : The Legacy of British Realism -

Hence, what begins with a "realist" ploy, quickly evolves into a symbolic function. Seeing Pepper as an "avenging phantom," he renames him the Avenger, and before long this function, which is a product of Pip's imagination and has nothing to do with the boy's own nature or conduct, becomes the major and metonymic way of referring to him. But he is no longer metonymically connected to the social world; he is now a part of Pip's internal realm which is peopled with images of convicts, chains of gold, punishment, revenge, and so forth.

I need not catalog the well-known web of such references that make this novel such densely rich reading. The metonym in this very simple instance consciously transfers Pepper out of the range of servant-and-master social relations and into a symbolic range of references operating against the realist agenda. Metonym blends with metaphor and even suggests allegorical dimensions. For convenience sake, I will use an example that almost reprises the instance of the butler above.

At the Veneerings' house in Our Mutual Friend , we again have generic figures Boots and Brewer and an ominous servant, this time a retainer who "goes round, like a gloomy Analytical Chemist; always seeming to say, after 'Chablis, sir? Moreover, the gloom identified with him is transferred to those he serves; thus we see Eugene Wrayburn "gloomily resorting to the champagne chalice whenever proffered by the Analytical Chemist.

This apparently insignificant individual is capable of analyzing the situation around him accurately. In this novel crammed with secrets and mysteries, only a few individuals have this power of penetration and yet it is precisely this penetration that the narrator offers, especially in relationship to seeing past the surface of the Veneerings. Just as he knows better than others what the constituents of the Chablis are, the Analytical is equally acute about other domestic features.

When Mrs. Veneering reports that Baby was uneasy in her sleep on the night of the election that will give Mr. Veneering a seat in Parliament, "The Analytical chemist, who is gloomily looking on, has diabolical impulses to suggest 'Wind' and throw up his situation; but represses them. In his brief moments on stage he has become more and more judgmental, so it is not surprising that he departs the text as "the Analytical, perusing a scrap of paper lying on the salver, with the air of a literary Censor.

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What is significant for the purposes of this essay is that Dickens calls attention to his non-realist joke on metonymy. A household servant is unlikely to have a metonymic connection with the science of chemistry. By converting a servant to an Analytical Chemist, Dickens aligns the servant with "scientific" analysis, something carried out methodically elsewhere in the novel by the police and others.

Early fiction

The servant is a tiny image of the potential disclosure of untrue conditions that mirrors the effort of the novel as a whole. At his last appearance the Analytical Chemist has returned to simile, only now it is as the Analytical Chemist, not as a household retainer, that he is likened to a "literary Censor. He becomes a sign pointing to a particular function of the narrative and thus resembles the allegorical figure on the ceiling of Tulking-horn's room with his ominous pointing hand.

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This technique can operate in the reverse direction as well, as a simple example from A Christmas Carol shows. Near the opening of the story, the narrator asserts that "Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail" and then boldly calls our attention to the figurative expression: "Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. When Scrooge arrives at his house that evening, he finds on his door "not a knocker, but Marley's face.

From being a dead character, Marley has become a real presence to Scrooge. More iron-mongery follows. The bells in the house begin to chime on their own, introducing the appearance of Marley's ghost wearing a chain made "of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel. Is its pattern strange to you? Marley's chosen attitude toward life has constituted this punishment in the hereafter, and Scrooge has been forging his own similar chain.

By now the simple simile of ironmongery has become a forbidding symbolism. The metonymic items of Marley's business have been transmuted into a nearly allegorical object—an iron chain. What is happening in Oliver Twist is simpler but depends upon the same irony that operates in the other examples I have cited. It is important that the narrator almost always refers to the man as the gentleman in the white waistcoat his first reference is the exception.

There is no doubt about his status, but the repetition of this word, always linked to the white waistcoat, reinforces his social place as one that is privileged. To some degree, then, the gentleman in the white waistcoat is a counter for a whole class. It would be possible to provide a sociological analysis, indicating that only a gentleman comfortably well off could afford such a fashionable item that would require expensive laundering and so forth.

White gloves similarly indicated station through the implication that they would have to be changed during the day and many of them laundered over time. Thus articles of clothing encode a certain social attitude and even ideology. But that kind of analysis is not my purpose here.

I am concerned here with Dickens's style rather than his politics. The man in the white waistcoat is not most importantly a representative of his class but a peculiarly malign specimen. His prejudices completely overwhelm him. Oliver comes before the workhouse board which consists of "eight or ten fat gentlemen.

Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture

The gentleman in a white waistcoat intervenes with an outburst that Oliver "was a fool. Which was a capital way of raising his spirits, and putting him quite at his ease. For example, this famous passage: "The members of this board were very sage, deep, philosophical men; and when they came to turn their attention to the workhouse, they found out at once, what ordinary folks would never have discovered—the poor people liked it! But the gentleman in the white waistcoat is not merely stupid in this manner; he has a determined animus against the poor. He does not merely assume the worst about the poor, but wishes them ill.

The head of the board instructs Oliver, but the gentleman in the white waistcoat adds his own view immediately after. You have come here to be educated, and taught a useful trade," said the red-faced gentleman in the high chair. This unexplained, gratuitous nastiness sums up the gentleman in the white waistcoat and raises him almost to the level of symbolic representation. In some ways we are faced with the mystery of whiteness similar to that in Moby Dick.

Near the beginning of this essay, I noted the narrative irony of the narrator's comment on the handkerchief that Oliver could not have hanged himself with because handkerchiefs were a luxury in the workhouse, and I suggested that this reference is the narrator's proleptic joke, because handkerchiefs will play an important role in Oliver's subsequent career.

One prominent connection has to do with hanging, so that the gentleman in the white waistcoat is actually the first to voice a motif that proliferates through the text in a manner that becomes typical of Dickens's style, of which I have tried to give a few brief example from other novels above.

Since Dickens was writing under great pressure while composing Oliver Twist , it cannot be assumed that he planned out that intricate pattern of handkerchief references, but it can be assumed that his imagination instinctively worked in this way. In later writings, it is clear that he consciously employs the technique. One chapter in this book, "A Tropology of Realism in Hard Times ," is a very intriguing and valuable reading of Dickens's novel.

At one point Kearns summarizes her perception of Dickens's dilemma—how Hard Times presents double messages at every level of its discourses, reflecting Dickens's anxiety about and his resistance to the realistic mode:. His apprehension of some alternative and unnameable energy brings his metonymies to challenge their own directional, propagandistic contiguities; people, their characters formed in some secret place, seem as much to create or to alter their surroundings as to be created or altered by them.

Kearns is acute in noting the ways in which metonymy works in this novel. She sees that "the language that reveals character through metonymy in Hard Times must communicate Coke-town's essential nature as a fabricated construct, its strangeness only masked by the conventional linearities of its architecture. And she demonstrates that Bounderby's character, though dependent upon metonymies, refutes itself with its past, thus resisting the realistic program of the novel, for he is not what he is; his character has nothing to do with his past and thus is not explicable in terms of his own current realism.

I couldn't agree more, but Kearns seems to feel that Dickens brings about this disjunction inadvertently, that he is unconsciously subverting his own attempt at realism. It seems to me more sensible to regard Dickens as intentionally bringing about exactly these deconstructions. After all, he is attacking the Utilitarian materiality represented by the Gradgrinds and Bounderbys, and he means to demonstrate its falseness.

It is spectacularly evident that Bounderby, the enemy of fancy, is himself the most fanciful storyteller in the novel, having fabricated his entire early history. My argument is that Dickens employed metonymy in his fiction precisely to call attention to that part of experience that is not limited to materiality. He made his inclinations clear in his famous preface to Bleak House when he wrote: "In Bleak House, I have purposely dwelt upon the romantic side of familiar things.

In Hard Times , Dickens aggressively calls attention to the difference between the metonymic and the metaphoric, the "realistic" and the "fanciful," in his style. At the very opening of the story Mr.

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  • Gradgrind is described as having a "square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base, while his eyes found commodious cellarage in two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall. But the eyes in their cave associate him metaphorically with a different pattern in the novel that has to do with redemptive danger and with the capacity to imagine beyond the factual and the material.

    Kearns has called attention to the way in which the square wall pattern proliferates as the narrative proceeds:. Thus Gradgrind's "own metallurgical Louisa" is most literally a metonymic chip off the old block who lives in Stone Lodge, having been struck off the parent with a piece of the thing that names her; the implied syntagmatic progression goes nicely from the obdurate industrialism embodied in Coketown's red-brick buildings to Stone Lodge to the wall-and warehouse-like Mr. Gradgrind to his flinty offspring. That is the metonymic development of the square wall, but the metaphoric development of the dark caves is equally complex and pervasive, though perhaps even subtler.

    It finds expression in the "ditch" that Bounderby claims to have been born in as well as in the "dark pit of shame and ruin at the bottom" of the mighty Staircase Mrs. Sparsit imagines Louisa descending, and in the uncovered shaft into which Stephen Blackpool falls. The ditch is the product of Bounderby's imagination, not a reality; the pit is the product of Mrs. Sparsit's imagination, and never becomes real; the shaft, though real enough, is the medium through which Stephen Blackpool, by the power of his positive imagination, conceives the central truth of the novel.

    While lying in the mineshaft he can see a star in the sky: "'I thowt it were the star as guided to Our Saviour's home. I awmust think it be the very star! This tendency to take a small detail from early in the narrative and elaborate it in an increasing network of allusions and similarities is typical of Dickens's narrative method and is related to the examples I have given in the narrator's mention of a handkerchief early in Oliver Twist , the butler in Little Dorrit , and Pepper in Great Expectations.

    Left: Nikolay Nedbaylo Alive sails. Photo by Egor Nedbaylo for naivizm. Once a fantastic dream and land of opportunity, the cosmos instead became a backdrop for the adventures of heroes that were solving a variety of psychological, ethical, social and philosophical problems. Both in sci-fi novels and illustrations, the psychological realism and depth of the characters became more important than technical accuracy and scientific authenticity. This is reflected in the fact that Arthur C. Clarke claimed that over all the illustrations for his novel The Fountains of Paradise he preferred the works done for T-M magazine by the soviet artist Robert Avotin due to their more accurate visualisation of the main characters.

    In the late s and 80s, there was a marked shift towards a psychedelic graphic style and a more complex narrative that had affected Soviet visual culture more widely. The design of T-M magazine had also changed, due to the conceptual works of Robert Avotin, who was constantly experimenting with various graphic styles. Throughout this period T-M magazine had been consistently organising multiple sci-fi art contests and exhibitions. Collectively, they worked to provide a space for greater experimentation; and helped readers to discover the works of talented nonconformist Soviet artists, such as Nikolay Nedbaylom, and many other amateur artists. For example, Gennady Golobkov — the winner of several contests- was known for his bright and vibrant images of humans in the distant future. However, only a handful of people were aware that the artist had been paralyzed since the age of 16, and died at the young age of 26 with a pencil in his hold. During this period, the formal, generic, and stylistic diversity of Soviet science fiction largely increased. This reflected changes in a general cultural mood and social imaginary that had moved from romanticised visions of the future to images of a post-apocalyptic and dystopian world.

    Science fiction literature that reflected a critical and ironic view of society soon became a vital part of the Soviet underground subculture. The issues of T-M magazine reveal the growing censorship during this period. The story, which depicted a totalitarian regime on a planet called Toramans, was officially banned in the state. As a result of this censorship, these issues of T-M have become rare. It has also been speculated that the illustrations for the novel by Alexandr Pobedensky were also the subject of censorship; as one of the four dictators depicted in the entry illustration resembled Nikita Khrushchev, the former head of the Soviet government.

    The dismissal was attributed to the publication of the first pages of Arthur C. She also teaches critical and cultural studies at the British Higher School of Art and Design in Moscow, specializing in Russian design history. Sign up to our newsletters for the latest creative news, projects and more delivered straight to your inbox. Twitter Facebook Instagram YouTube. Advertising Animation Architecture Art. Digital Fashion Film Furniture Design. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it.

    See our disclaimer. Victorians were fascinated with how accurately photography could copy people, the places they inhabited, and the objects surrounding them. Much more important, however, is the way in which Victorian people, places, and things came to resemble photographs. In this provocative study of British realism, Nancy Armstrong explains how fiction entered into a relationship with the new popular art of photography that transformed the world into a picture. By the s, to know virtually anyone or anything was to understand how to place him, her, or it in that world on the basis of characteristics that either had been or could be captured in one of several photographic genres.

    Rider Haggard, Oscar Wilde, D. Lawrence, E. Forster, and Virginia Woolf had to use the same visual conventions to represent what was real, especially when they sought to debunk those conventions. The Victorian novel's collaboration with photography was indeed so successful, Armstrong contends, that literary criticism assumes a text is gesturing toward the real whenever it invokes a photograph.

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