By Clyde De L. Ryals
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Extra resources for A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian Literature (Studies in Victorian Life and Literature)
52) Thackeray was evidently already mindful of the difficulties of closure, for he has his narrator say: "Our business does not lie with the second gener ation [of Crawleys] otherwise the present tale might be carried to any indefinite length" (p. 504). What he decided was "to leave everybody dissatisfied and unhappy at the end of the story—we ought all to be with our own and all other stories" (Ray, Letters 2:423). " So much for the surface, beyond which we are told nothing. " asks the narrator in the last paragraph.
Keeps ever and anon clutching at, grasping; and swashes it forth tentatively; yet never tables it, still puts it back again. Royalty will not play its trump-card till the honours, one after one, be mainly lost; and such trumping of it prove to be the sudden finish of the game! (3:136) To many of the inhabitants of Paris the executions in the city square are splendid public theater, amusements for the bored and distractions for the hungry: "Such a game is playing in this Paris Pandemonium" (3:288).
601). Most tellingly, however, he is apostrophized, in the manner Carlyle addresses him in The French Revolution, as "brother" (pp. 81, 180, 251, 374, 454, 585, 586), as one who is asked to join in the creation of the drama. Of him the narrator will "ask leave, as a man and a brother" (p. 81), to present his characters and begin the play. And as "brother wearers of motley" (p. 180) readers will be called upon to "picture" the scene (p. 131) and to "suppose" time to have passed (p. 347), distances to have been travelled (p.
A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian Literature (Studies in Victorian Life and Literature) by Clyde De L. Ryals