Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fragment 1412

Notes on Dickens 10

Dickens and Gogol shared the same metonymic use of language. When they stuck to their guns and remained true to their gift, their writing was its most powerful. For Gogol, the temptation, to which he finally succumbed, was the metaphorical. In Part 2 of Dead Souls, he tries to make his details, his language symbolize something, and his writing suffers as a result. For Dickens, the temptation was allegory. In parts of The Old Curiosity Shop, in Hard Times he tries to make his language exemplify something, and his writing suffers. Gogol, in his view of himself as a messianic saviour, was undone by metaphor, Dickens, in his view of himself as a teacher and social reformer, was almost undone by allegory. However, Dickens's gift was strong enough to survive this temptation.

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