Chapter

Narrative form and Social Sense in Bleak House and The French Revolution

Jonathan Arac

in Impure Worlds

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231782
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241149 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823231782.003.0006
Narrative form and Social Sense in Bleak House and The French Revolution

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This chapter points to one of the major institutional facts of literature in the years around 1830, what Bulwer defined as the “revolution” that has been affected by Periodical Literature. The reception of The French Revolution marks it as the work that defined Carlyle for his audience. Due to its exemplary status as a “work of art,” the French Revolution breaks the literary procedures of the romantic visionary mode as it transforms the romantic constellation of elements. While, the constantly frustrated hope for a final judgment is equally present in Bleak House. Moreover, the mode of writing in Bleak House and The French Revolution combines shared techniques of narrative unity and variety with a similar plot of social action. Both books express the wish for apocalypse, but both ironically expose the hope for total transformation to reductive laughter.

Keywords: narrative form; revolution; The French Revolution; Bleak House; Carlyle; apocalypse

Chapter.  6365 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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