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Authorship, Ethics, and the Reader: Blake, Dickens, Joyce by D. Rainsford

By D. Rainsford

Dominic Rainsford examines ways that literary texts could appear to touch upon their authors' moral prestige. Its argument develops via readings of Blake, Dickens, and Joyce, 3 authors who locate particularly brilliant methods of casting doubt on their lonesome ethical authority, even as they disclose wider social ills. The e-book combines its curiosity in ethics with post-structuralist scepticism, and therefore develops one of those radical humanism with functions a ways past the 3 authors instantly mentioned.

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Extra info for Authorship, Ethics, and the Reader: Blake, Dickens, Joyce

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11 'Night' and 'black' are key words in the Sketches, as they are throughout Blake's work. For example, the spectre of negativity which threatens the soul of the hastening traveller in The Couch of Death' appears to have monopolized the imagination of the speaker in TVhen early morn walks forth in sober grey', who goes, cursing his 'black stars', through a darkening vale, leaving that sweet viUage, where my black ey'd maid Doth drop a tear beneath the silent shade, (E, 416) where shade on shade is gloomily compounded, and black eyes are no mere physical attribute but reflections of a pervading mystery and melancholia, suggesting Berowne's mistress and the Dark Lady of the Sonnets.

22, 31; E, 276-7) This is an attack on the biological realities of the human condition, the facts of life, as much as on Tiriel's offspring. Despite the sweeping nature of his vision, Tiriel is monstrously egotistical, a kind of anti-Job, clinging to his dying wife, denying his children's interest in her or in him, and wishing to retain his faded dominion by destroying his heirs. 2; E, 277), whereas, really, it is his eyes that are the useless globes. 4; E, 277), which suggests the intervention of Providence, but, given the sense of doom throughout the poem, it might just as well be Nemesis.

It is true that there are other occasions in An Island when Quid resembles Blake: his phrase 'English Genius for ever' (p. 11; E, 460) suggests the burlesqued Blake of the Notebook poem on Klopstock (E, 500); Miss Gittipin's deleted accusation that Quid 'always spoils good company' (p. 12; E, 460) accords with some Blake records;20 and Quid sings 'O father father where are you going', which is one of several songs in An Island, which were to be reworked as Songs of Innocence or Experience (p. 15; E, 463).

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