The narrative employs a continued game exploiting the author-reader relationship, and this is evident in the authorial addresses interspersed through the text. Some there be who have been married, and found that they have still something to see and to do, and to suffer mayhap; and that adventures, and pains, and pleasures, and taxes, and sunrises and settings, and the business and joys and griefs of life go on after, as before the nuptial ceremony… Therefore, I say, it is an unfair advantage which the novelist takes of hero and heroine, as of his inexperienced reader, to say good-bye to the two former, as soon as ever they are made husband and wife; and I have often wished that addition should be made to all works of fiction which have been brought to abrupt terminations in the manner described;… Ch.
My dear readers, you may settle the matter among yourselves as you like. The hero must take it long in order to accommodate the requirements of the plot. I am not writing in ten volumes like Monsieur Alexandre Dumas, or even in three like other great authors. In this text Thackeray seems to be playing another Sterne on occasions, happily conscious and never-oblivious of the fictionality of fiction and textuality of the text. Margaret Rose emphasizes this metafictional dimension of a parodic text.
Parody is one common form of intertext in this ongoing process of fresh evaluation and re-interpretation of the fictionality of texts. In the penultimate paragraphs of the brisk narrative Thackeray attains the peak of the game. This is when Ivanhoe is about to enter Valencia to rescue the captive beauty along with other besieged Christians. It is a huge guffaw at the theatricality, i. Yes, the fairy in the pretty pink tights and spangled muslin is getting into the brilliant revolving chariot of the realms of bliss.
Therefore, he clinches the narrative with a quick theatrical touch of the romance tradition delightfully layered upon by the burlesque. Who is the first on the wall, and who hurls down the green standard of the Prophet? Who chops off the head of the Emir…? Who, attracted to the Jewish quarter by the shrieks … finds Isaac of York… clasping a large kitchen key? Who but Ivanhoe—who but Wilfrid? The very next instant he tries to retrieve the detachment, but instead of resuming the burlesque laughter he lapses into the solemn melancholy mood of a serene conclusion to what could otherwise be a tale of absurd thrills and hilarious laughter.
Westmark, by Lloyd Alexander
There are many gloomy reflections interspersed through the narrative, although these are immediately dismissed by the author himself to pass on to some gayer mood. Ah, my dear friends and intelligent British public, are there not others who are melancholy under a mask of gaiety, and who, in the midst of crowds, are lonely? Life is such, ah, well-a-day! It is only hope which is real, and reality is a bitterness and a deceit.
Thackeray had been, in fact, showing but the seamy side of the chivalric world about which Scott too was perfectly aware. Duncan gives an interesting interpretation to the relationship of the young pair. In the meeting of Ivanhoe with Rebecca there is an encounter of the highest ideals of the chivalric tradition with those of the Hebrais-Christian tradition. It is also Rebecca who later recalls the English to their own ideals.
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What Scott , in spite of his romance world, did not attempt was dared by Thackeray through his very posture of parodying the romance. Yet the marriage bell is not the last note of the novel. The author adds one more paragraph by means of which the seemingly romantic conclusion has been swathed in the light of realistic wisdom. Of some sort of happiness melancholy is a characteristic, and I think these were a solemn pair, and died rather early. Dodds comments with insight: Here again, amid the genial digs at Scott and at heroic romance in general, is burlesque written by one as fond of the old romance of knighthood as he is eager to right the injustice done to Rebecca.
As Thackeray burlesques the battles and the aspirations of the age of chivalry and points out its dullness and its cruelties, revealing as it were the reverse side of romance, he shows at the same time his love for old unhappy far-off things. He is automatically drawn to the attractions of the bygone world, and is also continuously pulled back from the same by the realistic reminders sent from his consciously rational mindset. This is at the root of the great fun as well as much of the ambivalence in which his sequel is embedded. Evidently, in spite of all his mistrust of the romance trappings Thackeray also had a strange attachment for the same world.
He would write: They are passed away those old knights and ladies: their golden hair first changed to silver, and then the silver dropped off and disappeared for ever; their elegant legs, so slim and active in the dance, became swollen and gouty, and then, from being swollen and gouty, dwindled down to bare bone-shanks; the roses left their cheeks, and then their cheeks disappeared, and left their skulls, and then their skulls powdered into dust, and all sign of them was gone. And as it was with them, so shall it be with us.
Ho, seneschal! Fill me a cup with liquor! Put sugar in it, good fellow — yea, and a little hot water; a very little, for my soul is sad, as I think of those days and knights of old. The opening lines of The Legend of the Rhine bear evidence to this nostalgic fondness for the romance world of textbooks, though as usual expressed in the mildly parodic-ironic tone: It was in the good old days of chivalry, when every mountain that bathes its shadow in the Rhine had its castle; not inhabited as now by a few rats and owls, nor covered with moss and wallflowers and funguses and creeping ivy.
No, no; where the ivy now clusters there grew strong portcullis and bars of steel; where the wallflowers now quiver in the ramparts there were silken banners embroidered with wonderful heraldry; men-at-arms marched where now you shall only see a bank of moss or a hideous black champignon; and in place of rats and owlets, I warrant me there were ladies and knights to revel in the great halls, and to feast and dance, and to make love there.
It is also interesting to note that Thackeray had seriously planned to write a novel about the times of Henry V, though the fragment he wrote was stiff and unsuccessful like anything. Perhaps, ironically enough, Thackeray could handle the subject he was so fond of only in the burlesque form.
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Just as Thackeray was always a little afraid of the sublime lest it turn suddenly into the sham- sublime, so he mistrusted the heroic lest it prove to be mock-heroic. Driven by a desire to see life steadily, he was suspicious of any appeal which might distort that level realism, and his effort is always to reach beyond the peripheries of romance to whatever appearance of truth might be there. This impatience with romantic trappings carries him at times into a studied realism.
But to him had been present at the same time all that is ludicrous in our ideas of middle-age chivalry; the absurdity of its recorded deeds, the blood-thirstiness of its recreations, the selfishness, the falseness of its honour, the cringing of its loyalty, the tyranny of its princes. And so there came forth Rebecca and Rowena, all broad fun from beginning to end, but never without a purpose,-- the best burlesque, as I think, in our language.
He can be instead placed in another illustrious tradition.
Gillian Beer identifies two watersheds in the history of the genre of romance in England, both reflecting an increasing self-consciousness about the use of the form 6. Dodds Indeed Thackeray enjoyed the reputation of remarkable mastery over the form. There is not a word in it having an intention to belittle Scott.
Both romance and rationalist modes have been harnessed here in order to present some essential truth about life and the ways of the world. True, the book, although appreciated by perceptive scholars, did not enjoy any remarkable response from the common reader. But it has been generally appreciated by critics. However, it had never been very popular. This mature response involved an ambience and sophistication of mind which has never been too common, not even in these postmodern days.
There was, however, at least one eminent contemporary who appreciated the geniality and enjoyed the exquisite flavour of the book. Thackeray in his Rowena and Rebecca certainly had no such purpose. Nothing of Ivanhoe is injured, nothing made less valuable than it was before, yet, of all prose parodies in the language , it is perhaps the most perfect.
Every character is maintained, every incident has a taste of Scott. Wikipedia 3. This freedom in the outlines of romance encourages its boundary-crossing into the neighbouring generic domains of the ballad and the epic. The ending of the original novel may also carry the seeds of devious further explorations. The relationship between them is complex, and is traced through a series of tightly interconnected scenes of masking and unmasking. As boy readers like Thackeray understood immediately, this has not really been a novel about men….
Baker 7. His work is polished, anachronistic, somewhat defeatist. The class with which he allied himself was being elbowed out of the way by the vulgar, vigorous, vital, petty bourgeois class; and its defeatism is reinforced by the unreality of its technique. The author casts his shadow between reader and mock-world, as if all this was something that had ceased to be, as if only the mind and will of the author were sustaining it.
Shaw inserts this scenario by taking a short cut through time, and thus a scrap of 17th century is flipped into a late 19th century realistic drama complete with its temporal aspirations and dissipations, automobiles and race. But the switch-over is so deftly handled that the audience can only sit up in amazed delight of surprised recognition.
Four characters, who had already appeared in the first two acts, now re-enter the stage in a dream scene. The audience is lured into the game of identifying the Mozartian figures, and simultaneously relating them to their Shavian counterparts; they are also rewarded by the pleasure of recognition of the points of merger and departures between the two sets. The persons, presently in hell, also show a good awareness of the minute details of their former lives in the previous text.
They recognize each other too in terms of their roles in the opera. They look back to their mortal days with varying degrees of criticism and preferred correction regarding their respective images as inscribed in the popular perception. Thus the commander now refuses to accept the idea that Juan was the murderer. Juan asks Ana in flippant tone about the latest position of the statue of her father, just like casually inquiring about some common acquaintance in a social meet.
Don Juan: How is that very flattering statue, by the way? Does it still come to supper with naughty people and cast them into this bottomless pit? Anna: It has been a great expense to me. The boys in the monastery school would not let it alone; the mischievous ones broke it. Three new noses in two years, and fingers without end. I had to leave it to its fate at last; and now I fear it is shockingly mutilated. My Poor father! As if the old story is not quite a matter of dead past, but is still continuing at another plane of reality—even if comically-- in its original textual locale, where life involves eventual dethroning of all icons, however terrible or venerable.
True, the ghost of the Commander still uses the form of the statue in this infernal afterpiece as we had seen him in the opera, but he does so for a quite different reason; the fine statue gratifies his vanity. Don Juan: Audacious ribald: your laughter will finish in hideous boredom before morning. Do you remember how I frightened you when I said something like that to you from my pedestal in Seville? It sounds rather flat without my trombones. Juan too responds adequately: They tell me it generally sounds flat with them, Commander Thus the most dramatic moment in the opera is hilariously trivialized in the new context.
The pair—formerly antagonists, now friends-- would even wish for some alterations in the hypotext. The Statue, who is bored by heaven and pays an occasional visit to hell under the excuse of arguing Juan into repentance, would have preferred another kind of twist to his mortal life and death.
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But as the prior text is fixed, and the past remains unalterable, they decide to mend it in the present text by exchanging places through mutual consent. The play is smoothly and instantly lifted up to another plane as the characters become doubly referential; thus acquiring double lives, as it were, -- simultaneously on the planes of present and past, the real and the legendary, the Shavian and the Mozartian.
It is interesting to note how in this dream sequence, which is actually a play or fantasy! Eventually the action too will be shown as an inverted paradigm in which the positional roles in the old pursuit motif are reversed: it is the woman who now chases, and the man seeks in vain, of course to flee. His sentiments were in the best taste of our best people.