English Literature Essays – City Dickens Joyce

Title: The European City and Literary Identity.

Equally much as the countryside informs the work of Wordsworth, the metropolis informs the work of Dickens and Joyce. The increasing urban development of the 19th century is revealed in the novels of Dickens as at one time detestable and hypnotic, disconnected and incorporate ; and likewise, the decomposition of the lives of metropolis inhabitants in Dublin is presented by Joyce as a thematic representation of an idiosyncratic urban generic, exacerbated by the church and resonating influences of the yesteryear. Both writers have ambivalent relationships with the metropoliss that inspired them, yet the progressively challenging upside-down informative, as the position of their novels is enriched by retrospect, is how far the plants have helped to determine the metropoliss on which they drew. By concentrating on Dickens’Oliver Turn( 1838 ) and other of his novels, and Joyce’sDubliners( 1914 ) andUlysses( 1922 ) it is hoped that this symbiotic coaction might be revealed in greater deepness.

It is striking, when one considers its achievement, to remember thatOliver Turnwas merely Dickens’ 2nd novel. Furthermore, it is so profoundly different from the first (Pickwick Papers,1836 ) that the intrinsic diverseness of the author’s endowment is manifest, as is the lucidity of his hereafter intent: to enter life and London, particularly as experienced by the hapless, and to uncover the worlds of both. The narrative of the kid, named ‘Oliver Twist’ by the beadle with detached attachment to alphabetical order, is so familiar now as to be about folklore, yet Dickens hoped that by doing his readers care about one kid, he might do them care about the reform of the hateful Poor Law which the writer believed helped to make the wretchedness of all of those like him. The guiltless kid one time ‘badged and ticketed’ ( Dickens,Oliver Turn, 1999, p. 4 ) loses his equality and individualism as a human being and becomes:

a parish kid — the orphan of a workhouse — the low, half-starved

hack — to be cuffed and buffeted through the universe — despised by all,

and pitied by none.

That this kid, hungry for love every bit much as nutrient, runs off and finds comfort in a London thieves’ kitchen comes as no surprise as it represents the lone ‘home’ he has of all time had.

Devils could non better have at the same time exposed the exposure of the kid, destitute and entirely, and the evil enticement of those populating London’s dark underbelly who preyed upon them more efficaciously, compactly or persuasively than in his description of Oliver’s response to Fagin’s lair, the path to which, ‘down the small tribunal by the side of the workhouse’ ( Dickens,Oliver Turn, 1999, p. 69 ) , Dickens describes in great item ( Dickens, 1999, p. 69 ) demoing his intense acquaintance with all of the metropolis, good and bad. Significantly, Dodger does non desire to come in ‘before nightfall’ ( Dickens,Oliver Turn, 1999, p.69 ) and the brooding owes much to the darkness of subject which Dickens is making:

A dirtier or more deplorable topographic point he had ne’er seen. The street was really narrow and boggy, and the air was impregnated with foul smells. [ … ] The exclusive topographic points that seemed to thrive amid the general blight of the topographic point, were the public-houses ; and in them, the lowest orders of Irish were brawling with might and chief. Covered ways and paces, which here and at that place diverged from the chief street, disclosed small knots of houses, where drunken work forces and adult females were positively wallowing in crud ; and from several of the room accesss, great ill-looking chaps were carefully emerging: edge, to all visual aspect, on no really friendly or harmless errands.

That Oliver should believe this topographic point ‘more wretched than any he had of all time seen’ is profoundly important as the reader has, by this point, vicariously experient via the kid the horrors and wants of the workhouse and his dismaying intervention by the mortician, every bit good as his parlous journey to London. Dickens’ acute description assails all the senses and fright is everyplace, as is danger. The fact that the saloons are the lone topographic points which ‘prosper’ tells the reader a great trade about the demand to get away which Oliver feels instinctively. This is enhanced by the Hogarthian image of ‘drunken work forces and adult females [ … ] positively wallowing in filth’ , as if the people who are ‘cautiously emerging’ and ‘bound [ … ] on no really friendly or harmless errands’ , and the topographic point have dreadfully united.

This London is filled with the entrapment to which Oliver is about to be subjected but it seems, to the kid, an image of comfort, particularly when he is fed, given a warm, perchance drugged alcoholic drink and ‘gently lifted on to one of the sacks’ ( Dickens,Oliver Turn, 1999, p. 72 ) to kip ; Dickens therefore shows the corruptness to the moral esthesia of the guiltless instantly.

Dickens’ ain apprehensiveness of London, so, is a topographic point which is both inhabited by and populate its people, corrupts and is corrupted: its streets, odors and sounds going internalised and mutated into animals that were one time every bit pure as the kid, Oliver: ‘Dickens had an intuitive sense of topographic point, and fastened upon Smithfield as a Centre of “filth and mire”’ as his description of Smithfield shows ( Dickens,Oliver Turn, 1999, p. 189 ) .

In the face of this, how is it that Dickens so evidently loves London? In an infusion from his following novel,Nicholas Nickleby( 1839 ) the writer provides an reply for the metropolis here is both a topographic point of enigma and thaumaturgy every bit much as corruptness ( so, inNickleby, Dickens’ reforming work was aimed at the Yorkshire schools such as that ruled by the grotesque Wackford Squeers and in fring the state of such schools he was vastly successful ) . Nicholas and Smike are freshly arrived in the metropolis and they both observe and are observed by ‘the rapidly altering and ever-varying objects’ ( Dickens,Nicholas Nickleby, 1999 ) :

Department stores of glorious frocks, the stuffs brought from every one-fourth of the universe ; alluring shops of everything to excite and featherbed the sated appetency and give new gusto to the oft-repeated banquet ; vass of burnished gold and Ag, wrought into every keen signifier of vase, and dish, and goblet ; guns, blades, handguns, and patent engines of devastation ; prison guards and chainss for the crooked, apparels for the newly-born, drugs for the ill, caskets for the dead, God’s acres for the buried — all these jumbled each with the other and flocking side by side, seemed to flutter by in assortment dance like the antic groups of the old Dutch painter, and with the same austere lesson for the heedless restless crowd. [ … ]

But it was London.

Dickens was, in fact authorshipNicklebyat the same clip asOliver, the serialisations overlapping. This melding of the author’s societal intent and association of thoughts in and about London in the two novels is hence viewed with more lucidity when the descriptions in each are considered together. The apposition, here, of the fortunate and the unfortunate, the life and the dead, the rich and the hapless, is all qualified by the absolute and undeniable jubilance and surrender of ‘But it was London’ . It is as if the writer finds it impossible non to see the whole of London as at the same time in a haste as Smike and Nicholas do. However, to the item, those involved are unmindful whereas the author’s specifying oculus girls nil: each nicety is noted, every point relished, all torments encompassed. However, the usage of the extraordinary conjunction to get down a paragraph, ‘But’ , alters everything and makes the helter-skelter blare a harmoniousness of kinds. Dickens’ Londonisa topographic point where ‘life and decease went manus in manus ; wealth and poorness stood side by side ; satiety and famishment laid them down together’ ( Dickens,Nicholas Nickleby, 1999, p. 409 ) but for him all of this is portion of its exhilaration, the eccentric bazar of the metropolis which was the Centre of an Empire, evidenced by the department store filled with luxuries ‘brought from every one-fourth of the world’ . Partially because of this, merely as Dickens is in many ways the writer of the modern twenty-four hours Christmas, he is besides the designer of the London that most visitants imagine they will see. The sense of its topographic point in the universe, so, which the capital evokes still rings with Dickens’ presence. The writer displays this in the departure of London by Nell and her gramps inThe Old Curiosity Shop( 1840-41 ) ; the death-haunted waterways ofOur Common Friend( 1864-5 ) , and, most of all, in the painful personal resonances of the semi-autobiographicalDavidCopperfield( 1849-50 ) .

In the last of these,DavidCopperfield, Dickens wrote of his life entirely in London as a kid, fictionalizing cathartically events of which he was ne’er able to talk in his life-time, salvage to his friend and first biographer, John Forster, to whom he gave the fragment of autobiography which he ne’er completed but which is so close to Copperfield’s ain experiences as to be inseparable. Despite this agony, or possibly because of it, Dickens retained a love for the whole of London throughout his life and a desire to assist those who, like himself, had suffered and prospered by it. As has been recorded of Oliver’s visit to Fagin:

Devils might be revisiting his ain childhood. , since his most formative

early experience of London was of go toing his male parent and household lodged in

Marshalsea Prison of Southwark.

Equally much as Dickens loved London, with all its defects, James Joyce hated Dublin. However, he chose to put two of his most influential plants in this metropolis which he loathed but could non get away:Dublinerswhich dainties of a choice of seemingly arbitrary but clearly connected titular supporters andUlysseswhich propels the metropolis during one day’s journeying of its characters into the cardinal ‘personality’ .

InDubliners, Joyce ‘emphasises the critical importance of local control, the loss of which constitutes palsy, Joyce ‘s opinion figure for disability’ ( Mahaffey, 1998 ) in the aggregation. He sees the metropolis as stagnating, in a province of palsy, influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. Hence, this accent is initiated by the friendly relationship of a immature male child with a paralytic priest in the first narrative, ‘The Sisters’ . The child’s captivation with the really word ‘paralysis’ opens the narrative as he muses on what this and other unusual footings mean ( Joyce,Dubliners, p. 9 ) . Joyce’s thought that the influence of the church added to the aberrances of the city’s people is echoed in the injury that is perceived as being done to the kid: “It ‘s bad for kids, ” said old Cotter, “because their heads are so waxy. When kids see things like that, you know, it has an consequence. . . .” ( Joyce,Dubliners, p. 11 ) . The connexion between Joyce’s thoughts of the irrevokable influence of topographic point and faith upon the immature is clear. Further in the sequence, Joyce trades with other upseting childhood influences, peculiarly in ‘An Encounter’ . However, the streets of Dublin itself get down to be experienced more to the full in the narrative of a child’s inventive exotic, ‘Araby’ , which he believes will inspire the Grey ‘sombre’ houses and the ‘silent’ streets he inhabits ( Joyce,Dubliners, p. 30 ) :

On Saturday eventides when my aunt went selling I had to travel to transport some of the packages. We walked through the aflare streets, jostled by bibulous work forces and dickering adult females, amid the expletives of laborers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the barrels of pigs’ cheeks, the rhinal intonation of street-singers, who sang acome-all-youabout O’Donovan Rossa, or a lay about the problems in our native land.

By Joyce’s evocation of the ‘streets’ as ‘flaring’ , the debauched scene is uplifted. Furthermore, the writer makes clear that the boy’s desire for that which is beyond his immediate experience is all around him in another signifier: ‘shrill litanies’ , ‘nasal chanting’ and, significantly, ‘a ballad about the problems of our native land’ . This last is particularly of import because it involves the political problems of Ireland as a unifying, chauvinistic and about romantic, entity, which subliminally haunts the heads of all Irishmen and is present on every street of the stagnating town. Joyce’s melding of the yesteryear, present and future gifts his Dublin with a eternity beyond the images he shows and history becomes a life presence.

InUlyssesthis subliminal transmutes to an imperative. This seminal novel of Modernism employs the watercourse of consciousness to chronicle one twenty-four hours in the life of the metropolis of Dublin, June 16Thursday1904, now known as ‘Bloomsday’ because of the traveling it records of one of the chief supporters, Harold Bloom. Joyce involves Bloom and his other chief character, Stephen Dedalus, in a criss-crossing of the metropolis until their eventual meeting. Joyce had foremost used the character of Dedalus autobiographically and this has the consequence of personalizing the position of the metropolis which he presents. Equally, the author’s acknowledged use ofThe Odyssey, adds the mythic to the historic within the narrative and once more adds a intentionally disjointed temporal significance to the fresh despite its precise placing on ‘one day’ .

He looked at the cowss, blurred in Ag heat. Silverpowdered olivetrees. Quiet long yearss: pruning, maturing. Olives are packed in jars, eh? I have a few left from Andrews. Molly ptyalizing them out. Knows the gustatory sensation of them now. Oranges in tissue paper packed in crates. Citrons excessively. Wonder is hapless Citron still in Saint Kevin ‘s parade. And Mastiansky with the old zither. Pleasant evenings we had so.

Joyce interweaves the alien with the mundane every bit closely as he links the present with the yesteryear. Bloom’s perforating yet absent regard transmutes and translocates what he sees via memory and affectional brotherhood. Dublin becomes at one time all of the topographic points he sees here in the emblematically resonating, redolent fruits: ‘Silverpowdered olivetrees’ are ‘quiet long days’ ; ‘olives’ remember ‘Molly ptyalizing them out’ . All combine to do the distant local, the nonsubjective subjective and Dublin a topographic point of abomination, acquaintance, fondness and abhorrence. Throughout the novel, Joyce invites the reader to see the metropolis as a market and a junkyard, a temple and a barroom. Joyce therefore breaks his self-imposed temporal boundaries by relentless usage of callback evoked by immediateness:

So warm. His right manus one time more more easy went over his forehead and hair. Then he put on his chapeau once more, relieved: and read once more: pick blend, made of the finest Ceylon trade names. The far east. [ … ] Where was the fellow I saw in that image someplace? Ah yes, in the dead sea drifting on his dorsum, reading a book with a sunshade unfastened. Could n’t drop if you tried: so thick with salt. Because the weight of the H2O, no, the weight of the organic structure in the H2O is equal to the weight of the what? Or is it the volume is equal to the weight? It ‘s a jurisprudence something like that. Vance in High school checking his fingerjoints, learning. The college course of study. Cracking course of study. What is weight truly when you say the weight? Thirtytwo pess per 2nd per second. Law of falling organic structures: per 2nd per second. They all fall to the land. The Earth. It ‘s the force of gravitation of the Earth is the weight.

Here Joyce involves centripetal perceptual experience in the experience, so that ‘warmth’ causes him to hesitate his character’s ideas and direct them traveling to the ‘far east’ and back to distantly remember memories of disconnected facts. A remarkable case of Joyce’s watercourse of consciousness structural form, this is besides a nexus with a intellectual map of Dublin where every point, every odor, every sound, every gustatory sensation, every edifice, every street, has a personal and corporate memory, at one time clearly located and generic. The metropolis is a universe and the universe a metropolis, merely as the ‘day’ of Bloom and Dedalus is the odyssey of Ulysses and the universe both past and present, existent and imagined:

OfDublinersJoyce had commented to a prospective publishing house that he intended it as a ‘chapter in the moral history’ of Ireland ;Ulyssesproved to be no less so, but a mammoth augmentation of the running wrangle, incorporating the outrages of a lacerated bosom and the painstaking fidelity with which the Irish author recollected in expatriate the particular inside informations of the face he could ne’er bury. What he recaptured is chiefly a fictionalized word picture of the lives of typical Dubliners ( and several rare 1s ) against the background of the metropolis as it existed in 1904: relentless memory, a ThomOfficial Directory, Dublin newspapers, and responses culled from letter writers at place contributed the pieces for the mosaic. In add-on he embellished his heroic poem novel with the dust of Ireland’s history, mythology, folklore, and modern-day political relations, touting to Frank Budgen: ‘I want… to give a image of Dublin so complete that if the metropolis one twenty-four hours all of a sudden disappeared from the Earth it could be constructed out of my book.’ Like the face of Jamey Tyrone,Ulysseshas the map of Ireland all over it.

Joyce’s idiosyncratic truth records the metropolis more acutely than any factual street map and he is its fantastical, inventive map maker.

Both Dickens and Joyce are informed by, and inform the reader, of the metropoliss they wrote approximately and this remains seeable in the manner London and Dublin have evolved, retaining a powerful conjunction with their recording equipments who decoded and delivered up populating worlds of the urban in their novels. Both metropoliss offer grounds of these authors in commemorations and museums such as Dublin’s James Joyce Centre, the Dublin Writers’ Centre and the life memorial of the one-year memorialization of ‘Bloomsday’ . As for Dickens, for many he merelyisLondon, even more than Shakespeare is Stratford on Avon. The topographic points he noted as he walked the streets at dark now note him and topographic points where he lived and wrote are immortalised by his authorship and his presence. Tourists seek out the locations of his novels and web sites with Dickens ‘virtual tours’ of London abound. Indeed, it is non excessively much to state, that both Dublin and London might non be perceived as they are today were it non for the creative persons that loved and loathed them in every bit effectual step: Charles Dickens and James Joyce.


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