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By Patrick Reilly

In literature, our century is noticeable to have reacted violently opposed to the axioms and assumptions of its predecessors. The excessive hopes of social commentators as varied as Macaulay and Marx have foundered as smooth guy confronts the awful certitude of his abandonment. Disillusionment and depression are visible because the trademark of contemporary literature. This ebook makes an attempt to chart this significant move in yes key texts of contemporary ecu literature. Patrick Reilly is writer of "Jonathan quick - the courageous Desponder" and "Goerge Orwell - the Age's Adversary".

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Extra resources for The Literature of Guilt: From Gulliver to Golding

Sample text

The contrast with the use of the journey in nineteenth-century fiction is instructive. The journey in the Travels, as in Heart 01 Darkness or Death in Venice, is a metaphor, the objective correlative of an internal dislocation, of the kind of dramatic alteration which an older terminology would have described as salvation or damnation. It is in this sense that the Travels belong with The Pilgrim's Progress rather than with Martin Chuzzlewit. Bunyan sends his hero travelling because he is the true wayfaring Christian and theroad he walks is a metaphor for the search after salvation.

The horse relies upon moral authority, not excrement, to defend itself against impertinence. Even in rejecting Gulliver's condescending advance, the horse continues to be mild and dignified - it is simply that the interloper, however puzzling, must be made to understand from the start that in Houyhnhnmland the horse mIes and that Archbi shop Marsh's logic-manual has no authority within this country. 'Gulliver's Travels': Looking into the Pool 31 Homo est animal rationale, equus est animal irrationale; stick to such breathtakingly arrogant assumptions and you will go hopelessly astray in Houyhnhnmland.

It is essentially a difference between the indicative and the imperative moods, between science and morality, is and ought - the horse has to leam certain facts, whereas Gulliver has to leam certain values, and values shockingly at odds with the cultural baggage he has carried from England. We, as readers, already know what Gulliver knows; there is nothing he can teach us, at least in his preHouyhnhnm state of mind, about England and Europe, lawyers and war, and all the rest - in these subjects we are all graduates of the same university.

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