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By Clyde De L. Ryals

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Additional resources for A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian Literature (Studies in Victorian Life and Literature)

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Yet in a footnote in the first edition the author refers to "my heroes and heroines" (p. 8 The author enjoys the Godlike ability to be both immanent and transcendent, both in and out of his creation. Not infrequently he even portrays himself as one of the dramatis personae: The other day I saw Miss Trotter (p. 113) I have heard Amelia say (p. 163) I saw Peggy with the infantine procession (p. 218) It was on this very tour [of the Rhine] that I . had the pleasure to see them [Dobbin and Amelia] first, and to make their acquaintance (p.

This is not, of course, to say the perfect word can ever be dis­ 24 Carlyle's The French Revolution covered, since the identity of signifier and signified is always proximate at best. History too has its grammar, and its parts of speech are ever subject to change. As embodied language, humans also can be­ come archaisms unsuited for the grammar of a new or changing era. Thus Louis XV, the representative of absolute monarchy, is, in the final third of the eighteenth century, a "Solecism Incarnate" (2:21).

66), "bring our characters forward" (p. 81), "adroitly shut the door" (p. 571), and "dwell upon this period" (p. 601). He mounts the stage "to introduce [his characters]" and then "step[s] down from the platform [to] talk about them" (p. 81). He explains why some incidents are in­ Vanity Fair: Transcendental Buffoonery 39 eluded or omitted: "We are not going to write the history [of Mr. Sedley's last years]; it would be too dreary and stupid" (p. 549). He comments on the composition and arrangement of his work: "Although all the little incidents must be heard, yet they must be put off when the great events make their appearance, and hence a little trifling disarrangement and disorder was ex­ cusable and becoming" (p.

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