The disinherited of literary history
in Dissolute characters
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The ironic fantasia in 'The Disinherited' ultimately climaxes in an excess of vision, a seeing of eyes on the pillow. 'The Disinherited' incorporates a subplot or retrospect, attached to a character called Prothero. To borrow terms more appropriate to Sheridan Le Fanu than the subtler Elizabeth Bowen, the gluttonous immediacy of Prothero's nocturnal writing releases an equally insatiable past. If on the haunted streets of Le Fanu's The Watcher, W. B. Yeats sought to build a great gazebo, an already ancient literary pedigree, it is fitting that he should both cite and suppress the papers of Martin Hesselius. Plagiarised at last, Le Fanu could find peace as well as his modicum of literary immortality. Literary history can develop methods and forms which are not excessively narrative, and do this without lapsing back into allusion hunting, image dissection, and passive contemplation.

Dissolute characters

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


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