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Forbidden Boundaries Defining Cultural identity in

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1 Forbidden Boundaries Defining Cultural identity in Great Expectations and Jack Maggs Letteratura Inglese II anno Prof. Alessandra Squeo (curricula: Mediazione Interculturale; Italiano per stranieri)

2 Primary sources 1861 Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, edited by C. Mitchell, introduction by D. Trotter, Penguin, Harmondsworth 1996 1997 Peter Carey, Jack Maggs, Faber and Faber, London 1997.

3 Jack Maggs 1997 Great Expectations 1861


5 Representation

6 Oxford English Dictionary
1. “To represent something is to describe or depict it, to call it up to the mind by description or portrayal or imagination; to place a likeness of it before us in our mind or in the senses; as, for example, in the sentence “This picture represents the murder of Abel by Cain”

7 2. To represent also means to symbolyse, stand for, to be a specimen of, or to substitute for ; as in the sentence, “In Christianity, the cross represents the suffering and crucifixion of Christ”

8 “Representation is an essential part of the process by which meaning is produced and exchanged between members of a culture” (S. Hall)

9 To represent to depict to portray to stand for to convey to describe
to explain…

10 Painting, images… words novel poem essay
Representation changes it depends on the medium words essay novel poem

11 Any representation implies a ‘communicative process’
Subject of representation (what is being represented?) Perspective of representation (the point of view from which representation occurs)

12 Subject of representation
Perspective of representation Diego Velasquez, Las Meninas 1656

13 Diego Velasquez, Las Meninas 1656 Subject of representation: Infanta
Royal Couple Perspective of representation: The spectator The painter The figure on the stairs The Royal Couple

14 Representation in the novel
Addresser Context Addressee Message Contact Code Reader Author Narrator Narrative Narratee

15 Narrator First person/third person
his position in the story(inside/outside) his degree of participation (protagonist/witnesss) the overtenss of his presence (intrusive/unintrusive) his reliability (onniscient, lemited point of view, unreliable)

16 Genette distinguishes
The person whose ‘voice carries on the narrative (the person who speaks) The person through whose eyes the fictional world is perceived (the person who sees) (FOCALIZATION)

17 “Quel ramo del lago di Como, che volge a mezzogiorno, tra due catene non interrotte di monti, tutto a seni e a golfi, a seconda dello sporgere e del rientrare di quelli, vien, quasi a un tratto, a ristringersi, e a prender corso e figura di fiume, tra un promontorio a destra e un’ampia costiera da un’altra parte […] La costiera, formata dal deposito di tre grossi torrenti, scende appoggiata a due monti contigui, l’uno detto di San Martino, l’altro, con voce lombarda, il Resegnone, dai molti suoi cocuzzoli, in fila, che in vero lo fanno somigliare a una sega: […]

18 A. Manzoni, I Promessi Sposi, 1840
Lecco, la principale di quelle terre, e che dà nome al territorio giace poco discosto dal ponte, alla riva del lago, anzi viene in parti a trovarsi nel lago stesso, quando questo ingrossa, un gran borgo al giorno d’oggi e che s’incammina a diventar città. […] Dall’una all’altra di queste terre, dall’alture alla riva, da un poggio all’altro, correvano e corrono tuttavia , strade e stradette, più o meno ripide o piane [….] per una di queste stradicciole, tornava bel bello dalla passeggiata verso casa, sulla sera del giorno 7 novembre dell’anno 1628, don Abbondio, curato d’una delle terre accennate di sopra.” A. Manzoni, I Promessi Sposi, 1840

19 Speech and thought presentation
NRSA Narrative report of speech acts He was in love with the girl and wanted to marry her IS Indirect speech He said he wanted to marry her FIS Free indirect speech He would marry her DS Direct speech He said “I want to marry her” FDS Free direct speech “I want ot marry her” As we move from NRSA…to… FDS, the presence of the narrator becomes less and less visible.

20 It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

21 “My dear Mr. Bennet”, said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?” Mr. Bennet replied that he had not. “But it is”, returned she; “for Mrs Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.” Mr. Bennet made no answer. “Do not you want to know who has taken it”, cried his wife impatiently. “You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.” This was invitation enough. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

22 Representation reality Realism

23 Realism in the novel: a changing concept
It refers to a set of narrative procedures that different artists in different times have used in order to cope with a changing notion of reality

24 18th century the novel and the middle class
The realism of the novel has been related to the bourgeois origin of the novel Kettle , Introduction to the English Novel (1951) Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel (1957) the realist conventions of the novel coincided with the need of the middle class (individualism)

25 18th century novel: “Truth to individual experience”:
It is the literary expression of a culture that sets an unprecedented value on originality and individual. It mirrors: the puritan religious code that stresses individual approach to God. the new bourgeois celebration of the individual, of the self made and self reliant man, practical minded, who makes his way in the competitive society he lives in and whose main ideals are money making and social climbing the philosophical assumption that truth can be discovered by the individual through his own senses and personal investigation (Descartes, Locke) Personal experience replaces accepted authority or collective tradition in the source of knowledge.

26 18th century novels

27 Plot Biographical structure. Patterned in terms of gain or loss of wealth and fortune. Defoe and Richardson were the first great writers who did not take their plots from mythology, history, legend or previous literature. (In this respect they were different from Shakespeare, Milton). The aim it to give an authentic account of human beings in precise circumstances.

28 Characterization Not human types but real human beings with both vices and virtues and living in precise circumstances. The use of proper names (Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, Pamela, Clarissa…) is an important aspect of such a characterization

29 Time Whereas previous literary tradition used timeless stories to mirror unchanging moral virtues, the novel uses past experience as the cause of present action.

30 Space Verisimilitude and detailed descriptions. Environment is much more than the mere setting for human actions

31 Language The immediacy and authenticity of everyday language characterize 18th century novels

32 “I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, tho’ not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull. He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer ; but by the usual corruption of words in English, we are now called, nay, we call our selves and write our name, Crusoe, and so my companions always called me.” Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, 1719

33 “My name is so well known in the records or registers at Newgate, and in the Old Bailey, and there are some things of such consequence stil depending there, relaiting to my particular conduct, that is is not to be expected I should set my name or the account of my family to this world; perhaps after my death it may be better known, at present it would not be proper, no, not though a general pardon should be issued, even without exceptions of perosns or crimes. It is enough to tell you, that as some of my worst comrades who are out of the way of doing me harm [….] knew me by the name of Moll Flanders, so you may give me leave to go under that name till I dare own who I have been, as well as who I am” Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (1722)

34 “Dear Mother and Father, I have great trouble, and some comfort, to acquaint you with. The toruble is, that my good lady died of the illness I mentioned to you and left us all much grieved for the loss of her, for she was a dear good lady, and kind to all us servants.” Richardson, Pamela (1740)

35 19th century novel (a wider notion of reality: individual and society) Focus is on the relationship between man and the social context  Balzac (Scènes de la Vie privée : a wider notion of ‘private’ live) Thackeray Vanity Fair (a novel without a hero”: focus is less on the individual than on society: selfishness, squalor…) Dickens (1861 Great Expectations: Pip’s evolution from his country village to the city of London) George Eliot, Middlemarch: a study of Provincial life (1871) the metaphor of the web  

36 The Victorian Age ( )



39 Victorian optimism, confidence, faith in progress
1. Political stability: Victoria ( ) Great Prime Ministers (Conservatives: Peel, Disraeli) (Liberal: Palmerston, Gladstone)

40 2. Reforms: Reform Bills. Extended the right of vote (By 1884 Suffrage was extended to all male workers. The electorate doubled) 1832 (150 seats of Parliament were taken away from country boroughs and new industrial towns were granted significant a representation in Parliament. 1867 Town Labourers 1884 Agricultural labourers and miners 1846: the repeal of Corn Law thanks to the Anti corn law league (the Corn Law which dated back to 1815 limited the importation of foreign corn and kept the price of corn artificially high). 1847: the Ten Hours' Act (limited the working hours to ten a day) 1862: The Mines Act (prohibited the work of women and children in mines 1870: Education Act Primary Education became compulsory




44 3. Expansion and industrial development
British Factories produced 85% of all manufactured goods in the world. British ships carried 60% of all good in the world. Free Trade (under the influence of Adam Smith's laissez faire, absence of government regulations) Increase of Cities (1851: London the largest city in the world)


46 4. Foreign Policy: expansion, the white man's burden
4. Foreign Policy: expansion, the white man's burden. (1876: Queen Victoria Empress of India) The exploitation of colonies and the submission of the native inhabitants was seen as a mission of civilisation


48 Documents of Victorian Celebration
Macaulay ( ) History of England: a celebration of the faith in progress. English History as a neverending process of growth which finds in the Victorian Age "the greatest, the fairest, and most highly civilized community that ever existed" …He describes "The reign of Queen Victoria as the time when England was truly Merry England, When all classes were bound together by brotherly sympathy, when the rich did not grind the faces of the poor, and when the poor did not envy the splendour of the rich"
















64 Streams of carriages from every part of the metropolis, filled with gaily dressed women and their escorts, drove slowly through the solid phalanx of pedestrians, who moved in a great mass up Piccadilly or Constitution Hill, to Knightsbridge and Rotten row, all intent on catching a view of the Queen and her suite as they drove to open the Palace of Industry[1]. [1] Arthur H. Hayward. The Days of Dickens. A Glance at Some Aspects of Early Victorian Life in London [1926], Archon Books, 1968, p. 132.

65 The park presented a wonderful spectacle, crowds streaming through it, carriages and troops passing, quite like the Coronation day. I never saw Hyde Park look as it did. […] The glimpse of the transept through the iron gates, the waving palms, flowers, statues, myriads of people filling the galleries and seats around, with a flourish of trumpets as we entered, gave us a sensation which I can never forget. (Ivi, p. 133)



68 B) Signs of anxiety 1845 Disraeli, Sybil, or the two Nations
1845 Disraeli, Sybil, or the two Nations 1851 Ruskin, The Stones of Venice (he denounced the bad conditions of workers): "It is not that men are ill fed, but that they have no pleasure in the work by which they make their bread … for they fear that the kind of labour to which they are condemned is verily a degrading one, and makes them less than men. We manufacture everything there except men: we blanch cotton, and strengthen steel, and refine sugar, and shape pottery, but to brighten, to strengthen, to refine or to form a single living spirit, never enters into our estimate of advantages”

69 John Morley "The aim of all classes and orders with power is, by dint of rigorous silence, fast shutting of the eyes and stern stopping of the ears, to keep the social pyramid on its apex, with the fatal result of preserving for England its glorious fame as a paradise for the well to do, a purgatory for the able, and a hell for the poor."




73 Thomas Carlyle : pamphlets
Matthew Arnold (Literature and Art can rescue England from the evils of Industrialism) William Morris (celebration of the Middle Ages and of hand made objects against the ugly machine made objects of industry) 1848 (pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) Dante Gabriel Rosseti The Oxford Movement (a reaction against materialism)

74 Conflict between Science and Faith
1833 Lyell’s Principle of Geology 1859 Darwin’s The Origin of the Species Darwin questioned the deep-rooted belief in the Biblical version of God's creation of Adam and Eve. The theory of the evolution of the species portrayed society as a jungle where life is a neverending and cruel struggle for survival.



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