Beginning the English novels
in Dissolute characters
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Sheridan Le Fanu's The House by the Church-yard had included less concentrated inquiries of a kind similar to those conducted in the stories of 1861-2. Whether for financial reasons alone or otherwise, Le Fanu was obliged to abandon Irish historical settings in all his subsequent full-length novels. The novel Wylder's Hand, in allowing its narrator to associate freely round the name of Rachel Lake, displays its open frontier to Irish history and intrigue. Though there is a powerful contrast between this novel and its renowned successor, Uncle Silas, Le Fanu's first attempt at a novel of English contemporary life, deserves attention. The implosive order of Uncle Silas demonstrates a corollary, that symmetry sustains itself only in destruction. Yet in his efforts towards a singular universe Le Fanu unveils evidences of serial character and plural textuality which may prove to be innovative.

Dissolute characters

Irish literary history through Balzac, Sheridan Le Farm, Yeats and Bowen

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