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    A use in measured language: poetic allusion and the Victorian culture of death

    McAllister, David (2013) A use in measured language: poetic allusion and the Victorian culture of death. Forum for Modern Language Studies 49 (3), pp. 229-243. ISSN 0015-8518.

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    This essay discusses the circulation through Victorian culture of two fragmentary quotations from poems that represent the female corpse, Byron’s ‘The Giaour’ and Thomas Hood’s ‘The Death Bed’. It traces the often unacknowledged appearances of these lines in an array of non-poetic contexts such as newspaper articles and advertisements, and novels such as Gaskell’s Mary Barton and Stoker’s Dracula, querying whether they function as quotations or allusions.By reading their textual afterlives through Lacan’s theory of the Thing, the essay identifies these poetic fragments as reassuringly familiar cultural artefacts that were used to shield the living from the terrifying absence opened up by the death of the other, and suggests that this approach offers a way to understand popular and sentimental artistic responses to death that do not sit easily within Freudian paradigms of mourning.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Lacan, Jacques Gaskell, Elizabeth Stoker, Bram Mary Barton Dracula, thing, death, corpse, in memoriam, allusion, Victorian
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Nineteenth-Century Studies, Centre for
    Depositing User: David McAllister
    Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2013 17:26
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:32


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