The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
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Charles Dudley Warner, an author and editor, was a neighbor and close friend of Mark Twain in Hartford, Connecticut. According to Twain’s biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, all their wives questioned Twain and Warner for dinner to write down a better story than what they were used to studying. Twain published the first 11 chapters, followed by doze chapters written by Warner. The majority of the remaining chapters were also authored by only one of them, but the ending chapters were attributed to joint authorship. The complete novel was completed between February and April 1873.
Contemporary authorities, while adoring its laughter and épigramme, d
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Écrit intI have typically wondered so why, although I have regularly returned to Va Woolf’s brief stories, I still experience I do certainly not know these people very well. This really is of course simply no other than the trick charm of Woolf’s short stories: they may be so hermetic or perplexing that one cannot help re-reading them; they may be so different that one will keep forgetting these people; they are and so challenging the particular one feels sure to delve into them again and again. They provide the stubborn resistance (Woolf 1988: 158) of the textual content that Woolf loves in Sir Thomas Browne’s articles and that she analyses in her article Reading. The military metaphor of level of resistance might claim that once the fortress of the textual content has been attacked, it will surrender to the target audience. However , the writer makes it clear that these kinds of is not the case. You she describes in her essay is usually not supposed to remove a whole site of the sentences and crush their very own meaning in one grasp (158); on the contrary, the obstinate resistance ofUrn Burialat first trips all of us and shades us (158); so that examining may not be associated with deciphering the text which usually does not produce its meaning easily: [w]electronic must stop, go back, check out this way which, and continue at a foot’s pace (158). The type of reading Woolf advocates is actually a difficult, slow, and strenuous process comparable to mounting only a solemn and obstinate donkey rather than go up to town by an electric train (158). It is the extremely type of browsing Woolf’s individual short reports require.
2 The route someone must follow once reading Browne and Hackluyt is a extended and circuitous one in which in turn his or her attention wanders. [. ] This floats progressive at ocean. It is soothed almost to sleep (148).
- 1 Barthes writes regarding lire en levant la t(Barthes 33).
- 2 On this subject, see (Reynier 2007b).
a few What Woolf describes here is what Roland Barthes calls reading looking up, 1 allowing the reader’s imagination move on with the writer’s work, letting the reader enter the text through its loopholes. Such imaginative reading can simply be caused by a text rich, [. ], with more than anybody can grasp at any single reading (149); and in turn of being geradlinig, it involves repeated shocks (152) that can come at abnormal intervals, like [t]he tiny irregular light of light that reveals the children their way through the moth-hunting field evoked inside the same essay. Reading offers thus to do with seeing instead of meaning, with overcoming blindness and seeing at times an unknown world (150), a world of magic including the one the children discover at night with wonderful excitement (151) in the story embedded in the essay and which capabilities as a great allegory of reading while enacting, through its apparent unrelatedness towards the reflections about them, the obstinate resistance of the text to reading. Examining therefore does mean to have use of the glory of the moment (152) through which one activities the writer’s gift and generosity: a couple of [o]ne can be conscious on a regular basis that Friend Thomas was never paid a penny intended for his the entire. He is cost-free since it is the offering of his very own bounty to offer us as little or just as much as he chooses (159).
5 Woolf’s short stories absolutely require the sort of reading the writer evokes in her article. Confronting the obstinate resistance of the text, reading through several irregular shocks that require a shock-receiving capacity (Woolf 81, 83) akin to the writer’s, is undoubtedly a demanding process, all the more so since the texts will be short and provide little narrative help, which may are the cause of the comparative critical overlook of Woolf’s short tales. Yet if you’re ready to perform the game and submit themselves to the connection with reading these short tales, they may well find it satisfying. Indeed, in the event that writing is, while Woof tells us about Jones Browne, a generous method, an offering made by the writer for the reader, it induces a similar desire to impart in the reader:
But how come beauty should have the effect upon us that it does, the strange peaceful confidence that it inspires in us, non-e can say. Most of the people have tried and perhaps among the invariable homes of natural beauty is that this leaves inside the mind a desire to give. Some supplying we must generate; some work we must dedicate, if only to move across the room and turn the rose in the container. (159)
5 This is at least what all the contributors to this special issue have experienced and the gifts they make are the essays presented here. Some break new ground, some exemplify enduring trends in Woolfian criticism; some are the work of distinguished scholars, others of younger readers. They all shed a different light on Woolf’s short stories, which they analyse either in groups or separately, illuminating them and thus bringing to the fore texts that tend to be relegated to the margins of Woolf’s work.
6 In Reading, Woolf further shows in a metaphorical way how an English reader, solitary as he or she may be in his or her own private library, necessarily reads a book with the English literary tradition in mind: If I looked down at my book I could see Keats and Pope behind him, and then Dryden and Sir Thomas Brownehosts of them merging in the mass of Shakespeare, behind whom, if one peered long enough, some shapes of men in pilgrims’ dress emerged, Chaucer perhaps (142); and the English history as well, thoughts of the red coats of the invincible.
7 British soldiers(141) and Empire never being far from his or her mind. In other words, Woolf’s reader is unavoidably grounded in a specific literary tradition as well as steeped in a specific socio-historical context. Such a conception of reading implicitly suggests that the reading of a text is never fixed and is bound to be renewed with every reader, his or her nationality, his or her sociological or historical background. It indirectly begs for the cosmopolitan readings of Woolf’s short stories that are offered here and which come from readers scattered all over the world and living in different geographical, cultural, and historical contexts, those of England but also of France, Italy, and Belgium, of the United States and Taiwanall of them entering at times into a dialogue with each other.
8 In several articles, Woolf’s short story is analysed not as experimental ground for her novels as has too often been done, but as a form of many commitments, whether ethical or political, feminist or historical. Elke D’hoker, in an exploration of imagination in some of Woolf’s short stories, shows that, although it has rarely been used so far, ethical criticism is particularly relevant to Woolf’s writings. She thus asks new questions and follows a new trend that I also illustrated in a recent article, Virginia Woolf’s Ethics of the Short Story. Reading Holborn Viaducta hardly ever mentioned sketchThe Man Who Loved His Kind, and Solid Objects, and basing his analysis on Adorno, Charles Sumner provides a most challenging analysis of Woolf’s use of literary beauty as a powerful socio-critical form of commitment. Kate Henderson offers an extremely perceptive and innovative analysis of Woolf’s writing and reading praxis in The Duchess and the Jeweller and shows that this short story, so often analysed as an anti-Semitic one, deals in fact with the consumers’ practices that are the readers’ ofHarper’s Bazaarin which it was initially published.
9 Anne Besnault-Levita offers a rigorous and most stimulating reading of The Introduction and Together and Apart, two of the Mrs Dalloway’s Party short story cycle, in terms of conversation and in the light of pragmatics and feminist narratology. Drawing on Woolf’s own experience and on the historical exclusion of women from university, Ann McClellan examines five short stories trying to appraise Woolf’s solutions to the problem of women’s education. Her cultural studies and feminist methodologies offer a good example of a type of reading that has been prominent in Woolfian criticism and which is here applied to Woolf’s short stories. In a challenging reading of The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn, Leena Kore-Schroder takes us away from a feminist reading of the short story to questions of land and ownership in the Middlle Ages, unearthing unexpected connections between Rosamond Merridew and a major historian of the time, and delineating in the end in perfectly new terms the type of history in which Woolf grounds her characters.
10 The second set of articles, which offers genetic readings and readings based on philosophy or scientific theories, also takes us beyond experimentalism. Comparing first 1919 edition ofKew Gardenswith the typescript and reading the short story in the light of the early diaries and Deleuze, Oliver Taylor comes up with a stimulating and challenging analysis of Woolf’s imagination as nomadic while Frank Stevenson, who focuses on Woolf’s aesthetics of disproportion and discontinuity, offers a reading of Kew Gardens in the light of both informative and chaos-complexity theory and especially, of Michel Serres’s writings, which renews our understanding of the short story. In an innovative genetic analysis of the different draft versions of The Searchlight, Laura Marcus shows that the telescope scene lies at the center of a network of connections both with Woolf’s art and life and argues that it is central to Woolf’s understanding of memory, to her self-representations and above all, to her scene-making. As for Teresa Prudente, she renews the reading of Woolf’s short stories by looking at them through the lens of Ricoeur’s concept of duration.
- 3 See especially chapter VI: Cinematograph (Holtby 116-136).
11 Finally, interart analogies are examined in the last three papers which focus on music, painting, cinema, and Woolf’s short story. Illustrating Woolf’s saying that All great writers are great colorists, just as they are musicians into the bargain (Walter Sickert), Liliane Louvel goes on with her exploration of the sister arts and in a fine analysis of painting and writing in Woolf’s short stories, redefines the visual as a critical tool with which to open the eye of the text while Emilie Crapoulet, in an attempt to understand the relation between language and music, gives an innovative reading of The String Quartet as an assessment of the power of music and an exploration of the way in which it makes meaning. While one of the first critics to have written on Woolf, Winifred Holtby, remarked on the cinematic qualities of Woolf’s short stories, few critics have followed suit.3 This is what Abbie Garrington begins to explore in her analysis of The Lady in the Looking-Glass which draws a parallel between this text and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, a film Woolf analyses in her essay The Cinema.
12 Because Woolf’s short stories offer an obstinate resistance to reading, they keep haunting the reader and lend themselves to endless renewable readings, as the essays presented here testify. It is true that quite a number of articles have been devoted to indiv >the first variety of essays to get published that is devoted solely to Woolf’s shorter fiction ( Benzel and Hoberman XV) and a most beneficial addition to the only two full length studies of Woolf’s short stories published so far, Baldwin’sVirginia Woolf. A Study from the Short Fictional worksand Skrbic’sWild Outbursts of Flexibility. Reading Va Woolf’s Short Fiction. In such a context, this unique issue from theJournal of the Short History in Britishthe second collection only of essays to become published that is devoted entirely to Woolf’s short testimonies, is particularly everyone should be open.
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Baldwin, Dean 3rd there’s r.Virginia Woolf. A Study of the Short Fictional. Boston: Twayne Marketers, 1989.
Barthes, Roland. Ecrire la lecture,Le Friture de la expression.Essais opinions IV. Paris: Bord, 1984. 33-36.
Benzel, Kathryn N. and Ruth Hoberman, eds.Trespassing Boundaries. Virginia Woolf’s Brief Fiction. New York & Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Holtby, Winifred.Virginia Woolf. A Critical Memoir, with a new introduction by Marion Shaw. London: Procession, 2007.
Reynier, Christine. Virginia Woolf’s Ethics of the Short Story,Etudes Anglaises 60/1(Janvier-mars 2007): 55-65.
-. Virginia Woolf’s Dischronic Skill of Fictional works in her Essays,Etudes britanniques contemporaines33 (novembre 2007).
Skrbic, Nena.Wild Outbursts of Freedom. Browsing Virginia Woolf’s Short Fictional works.Westport, Connecticut; London: Praeger, 2004.
Woolf, Virginia. A Sketch of the Past,Occasions of Being. Unpublished Autobiographical Writings(1976). Impotence. Jeanne Schulkind. London: Triad/Granada, 1981. 71-160.
-. Walter Sickert,Collected Essays, vol. 2 . Ed. Leonard Woolf. Greater london: Hogarth Press, 1966. 233-244.
-. Reading (1919),The Essays of Virginia Woolf, 1919-1924, vol. 3. Ed. Toby McNeillie. London, uk & Nyc: H. B. J., 1988. 141-161.
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