By Clyde De L. Ryals
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Extra resources for A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian Literature
167). Yet having taken such effort with the historical details, Thackeray then presents the most jarring anachronisms, which serve in effect to undo the historical picture so carefully constructed. Here are some examples: It was the last charge of the Guard—(that is, it would have been, only Waterloo had not yet taken place) (p. 49) Had orange blossoms been invented then , Miss Mar ia would have assumed the spotless wreath (p. 113) Varnished boots were not invented as yet (p. 207). Further, the narrator adds comments on how Apsley House and St.
Words, our only means of access to "history" and "truth," must therefore always remain highly suspect. Thackeray would have us see that any linguistic report, whatever its claim to objective truth, Vanity Fair: Transcendental Buffoonery 47 is simply a perspective, often "dictated by interested malev olence" (p. 619). When we have finished the novel, the illustration on the title page takes on a meaning unforeseen in the beginning and becomes for us the "illumination" Thackeray speaks of in the prologue.
Paris is "a World's Amphitheatre" (3:55) in which the audience often "jumps on 28 Carlyle's The French Revolution Stage" so that what is presented is a "World Topsy-turvied" (3:54). At the trial of the king the court ushers "become as Box-keepers at the Opera" (4:103). In this "world's drama the Mimetic be come[s] the Real" (3:18), "theatricality" the actuality (3:236). Even when we are returned from the theater to the world of everyday affairs, the drama continues, which "though not played in any pasteboard Theatre, did enact itself" (3:100).