Victorian Fantasy by Stephen Prickett

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By Stephen Prickett

Faraway from being simply children's literature, Victorian delusion is an paintings shape that flourished against the repressive social and highbrow stipulations of "Victorianism." during this absolutely revised and increased version, Stephen Prickett explores the way Victorian writers used non-realistic techniques--nonsense, desires, visions, and the construction of different worlds--to expand our realizing of this global. particularly, Prickett specializes in six writers (Lear, Carroll, Kingsley, MacDonald, Kipling, and Nesbit), tracing the advance in their paintings shape, their impression on one another, and the way those writers used fable to question the ideology of Victorian tradition and society.

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Illustration to Blanchard Jerrold’s London (1872). qxd 7/7/2005 11:50 AM Page 29 The Evolution of a Word 29 and 1900—the rate of publication climbing steeply toward the end of the century. F. D. Klingender in Art and the Industrial Revolution has shown us how the new technology not merely changed the nature of the arts in the nineteenth century by making books and prints more widely available, it also suggested new forms and perspectives in design. Nor was the sense of exuberance in the new power of steam and steel confined to the visual arts.

27 The contrasts between the two architectural fantasies of Walpole and Beckford are as instructive as their similarities. 28 He was not a medievalist and had none of the scholarly interests of Walpole. He was not interested in communicating his ideas, nor, indeed, was he apparently conscious of any wider implications of his activities. Both in the writing of Vathek and in the construction of Fonthill Abbey he is like a man acting under compulsions he does not fully understand. He seems to have shared with many of the early Victorian creators of literary fantasies a strange unselfconsciousness about his own desires and their forms of expression—strange, that is, for a later and more self-analytic age.

Illustration to Purgatory, Cantos 29–30. It is this moment that Blake has chosen to illustrate. At the extreme right of the picture stands Dante, his head bowed in humility while his eyes are fixed still on Beatrice’s face. Beatrice herself stands newly unveiled on the car whose platform decorations suggest an altar. By the wheel are the three virgins who are mentioned in canto XXIX. Hope, in green, raises her hands to heaven; Charity, in red, is surrounded by tiny children apparently in her golden hair; and Faith is running forward, pointing to the open book and to Dante apparently in intercession against the charge of faithlessness.

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