‘Freezing brightness’
in Dissolute characters
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Art seeks to control art in those scenes where Rembrandt's name or Wouvermans' is invoked. Even in the apparently superficial and immediate world of Brandon Hall, the narrator of Wylder's Hand had experienced in sleep the projective violence of art. In Guy Deverell and Wylder's Hand, the incidents apparently reactivating pictures are finally explained in mundane terms; in contrast, the short stories remain generally cryptic in their introduction of pictures. Explanation of a picture's significance or apparent power in the novels goes hand-in-hand with their rationalisation of the supernatural. In contrast, the short work is gnomic as to demons, ghosts and vampires as well as to painters' names. Sheridan Le Fanu's use of painting provides the opportunity to consider the problem of classification of literary genre. Words associated with painting and the depiction of lighted scenes proliferate, 'perspective', 'shade', 'dusky light', 'shadow', 'shadow' again, 'dark', and even perhaps 'lightly'.

Dissolute characters

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

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