[ilds] the Mirror and the Lamp

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 13 18:42:22 PDT 2007

We're partners here, Charles.  I too am a good Romantic and favor the lamp, although mine is closer to Aladdin's.  I'll probably regret the metaphor, once Bill reads this, but I rub the lamp and wait for the Durrellian genie to appear.


-----Original Message-----
>From: slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu>
>Sent: Jun 13, 2007 5:48 PM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] The real behind the fictional people and situations

>On 6/13/2007 1:03 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>I tend to think anything mediated through an author's brain and which he labels fiction, no matter how factual in basis, is still fiction.  
>I only ever work from that premise, Bruce, and I teach Victorian 
>novels--from the highwater moment of "realism." 
>In class, I continually remind my students  that these different visions 
>of Victorian London and Victorian England are just that--visions--in 
>which Dickens and Eliot and Stoker are borrowing and rejecting and 
>distorting and integrating certain elements from the author's 
>experience, but not presenting their fashioned worlds in a direct, 
>one-to-one relation to the "real" world elsewhere.  Thus literature's 
>difference from the phone book or the cook book, which must work through 
>direct, accurate translation of information.  Thus the usefulness of 
>science fiction and fantasy, genres which return us to the recognition 
>that imagined worlds are never simply "our world."  (Read attentively, 
>which of our novels are not properly seen as "speculative fiction"?)  
>To understand this, imagine transferring characters among books, like 
>interstellar explorers moving from one world to another.  Without a 
>doubt, Pip could not exist, could not survive a transfer to Middlemarch 
>or to Thornfield Hall or to Toad Hall, where the moral economy of the 
>different writers' imagination would not permit Pip what Dickens allows 
>him.  Likewise it is impossible to imagine Heathcliff outside of the 
>special environment of Wuthering Heights--he is Bronte's special 
>homunculus, not allowed to creep from his suspending fluid. . . .
>Thus the perils of a too easy acceptance of mimesis. . . .
>I suppose I am more a partisan of the Lamp, rather than the Mirror.
>I have increasingly come to sense a kind of hiccup or slight trembling 
>of the ontological veil  in /Justine /whenever Scobie appears in the 
>text.  He really seems to be a character dropped in from another book, 
>from another place and another time, and Darley, I fancy, writes in a 
>very different way when he writes of his time with Scobie.

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