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Far from being just children's literature, Victorian fantasy is an art form that flourished in opposition to the repressive social and intellectual conditions of "Victorianism." In this fully revised and expanded edition, Stephen Prickett explores the way in which Victorian writers used non-realistic techniques--nonsense, dreams, visions, and the creation of other worlds--to extend our understanding of this world. In particular, Prickett focuses on six writers (Lear, Carroll, Kingsley, MacDonald, Kipling, and Nesbit), tracing the development of their art form, their influence on each other, and how these writers used fantasy to question the ideology of Victorian culture and society.
Angels Bridging Chaos (Milton, Paradise Lost X:312–47). VictorianFantasy.qxd 7/7/2005 11:49 AM Page 27 The Evolution of a Word 27 1.5 John Martin: Satan Addressing the Rebel Angels (Milton, Paradise Lost I:314). Blake did not, of course, begin the tradition of illustrating epic fantasy worlds—there is a long tradition of eighteenth-century classical engraving— but he transformed it.54 One only has to compare the world of Martin with the continental classical training of Doré to see the
from the Car, 1824–1827. Illustration to Purgatory, Cantos 29–30 of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Watercolor, 37.2 x 52.7 cm. Used by permission from the Tate Gallery, London/Art Resource, NY. First published in 1979 by THE HARVESTER PRESS LIMITED Publisher: John Spiers 2 Stanford Terrace, Hassocks, Sussex Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Prickett, Stephen. Victorian fantasy / Stephen Prickett.-- 2nd rev. and expanded ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN
The basic framework is a game of chess—a strange game, perhaps, but the sort of childish game, full of mistakes, that a real Alice might play. But VictorianFantasy.qxd 7/7/2005 12:04 PM Page 127 Consensus and Nonsense: Lear and Carroll 127 we are through the looking glass; everything is inverted so time runs backwards. Hatta (our old friend the Mad Hatter apparently reincarnated) is “in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn’t even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the
assures Alice that “Every thing’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”8 Kingsley’s frequent disclaimers of “a moral” are coupled with a structure that clearly implies the existence of any number: why else, for instance, should we have that pair in loco parentis, Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid? The very names reek of Bunyan. Yet this same structure appears on closer inspection to be parodying itself, even while being in earnest. That this might be part of a deliberate
in that story, the ghostly enemies, the ladies both good and evil, were close enough to my habitual imagery to lure me on without the perception of change. It is as if I were carried sleeping across the frontier, or as if I had died in the old country and could never remember how I came alive in the new. For in one sense the new country was exactly like the old. I met there all that had already charmed me in Malory, Spenser, Morris and Yeats. But in another sense all was changed. I did not yet