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 specifically brilliant methods of casting doubt all alone ethical authority, even as they divulge wider social ills. The booklet combines its curiosity in ethics with post-structuralist scepticism, and hence develops one of those radical humanism with purposes a ways past the 3 authors instantly mentioned.
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Additional resources for Authorship, Ethics and the Reader: Blake, Dickens, Joyce
Pretty Pretty Robin Under leaves so green A happy Blossom Hears you sobbing sobbing Pretty Pretty Robin Near my Bosom. (E, 10) Here, the arrow-wound, vagina or grave of the 'blossom' is also a 'cradle', an image that connects significantly with many of the other Songs. In 'Night', once the 'happy groves' (analogous to the 'ecchoing green') have been left behind, we pass into a cradled state where the innocent are patients, receiving anaesthetic ministrations which advertise the imminence of pain and danger, and which seem, moreover, to curtail free wiU, describing a Providence that is claustrophobic: If they see any weeping, That should have been sleeping They pour sleep on their head And sit down by their bed.
Although this engulfing attitude is now leading Blake towards a description of the widest human issues, it is connected with the melancholic introspection in Poetical Sketches, the uncontrolled subjectivism of An Island in the Moon, and Blake's failure, thus far, to account for the evil aspects of humanity which he cannot discover in the self-image which determines his perception of the Poetic Genius and hence of the orientation of history. THE VALE OF HATRED Tiriel, thought to have been written around 1789,34 represents a considerable progression from the rudimentary definition of epic Melancholia and the Search for a System 33 types in the 'Seasons' of Poetical Sketches towards the complexity of the large Prophetic Books.
14 But the last characterization is a travesty. This is the speech in question, in which the Prince addresses Sir John Chandos: 20 Authorship, Ethics and the Reader Now we are alone, Sir John, I will unburden, And breathe my hopes into the burning air, Where thousand deaths are posting up and down, Commission'd to this fatal field of Cressy; Methinks I see them arm my gallant soldiers, And gird the sword upon each thigh, and fit Each shining helm, and string each stubborn bow, And dance to the neighing of our steeds.