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Writing at the Margin: Economics and the Victorian Sensation Novel

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This paper explores how marginalist economics defines and inevitably constrains Victorian sensation fiction's content and composition. I argue that economic intuition implies that sensationalist heroes and antagonists, writers and readers all pursued a fundamental, "rational" aim: the attainment of pleasure.

This paper explores how marginalist economics defines and inevitably constrains Victorian sensation fiction's content and composition. I argue that economic intuition implies that sensationalist heroes and antagonists, writers and readers all pursued a fundamental, "rational" aim: the attainment of pleasure. So although "sensationalism" took on connotations of moral impropriety in the Victorian age, sensation fiction primarily involves experiences of pain on the page that excite the reader's pleasure. As such, sensationalism as a whole can be seen as a conformist product, one which mirrors the effects of all commodities on the market, rather than as a rebellious one. Indeed, contrary to modern and contemporary critics' assumptions, sensation fiction may not be as scandalous as it seems.

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2014-12

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Reading and Writing Military Science Fiction

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Discusses the reading experience and writing strategies in relation to four prominent novels from the genre

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2013-05

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Miltonic Christology in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained

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Often when considering John Milton's greatest work, Paradise Lost, the general public operates under a number of assumptions which are patently false. One of these assumptions is that Milton was an orthodox Christian when writing Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

Often when considering John Milton's greatest work, Paradise Lost, the general public operates under a number of assumptions which are patently false. One of these assumptions is that Milton was an orthodox Christian when writing Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. This thesis sheds light on the issue by examining his personal beliefs about the trinity in De Doctrina Christiana, defending the use of the treatise in analyzing the poems, and explaining how Milton uses veiled language in order to hide his heterodox beliefs. I contend that deriving an antitrinitarian mode of thought from De Doctrina Christiana and reading the poem with this antitrinitarian belief, the cognitive frame of reference in which Milton was when writing both poems, in mind is a more consistent reading of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained than reading both texts with a traditional, orthodox, Christian perspective. Examining a variety of selections from Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, I demonstrate the powerful nature of the antitrintarian reading of Milton. Many passages, for example the invocation in the opening lines of Book III of Paradise Lost, become much clearer with an antitrinitarian reading. Reading the texts with an antitrinitarian view reduces ambiguity in the text and clarifies a number of passages and details which, from a Trinitarian view, are left completely unanswered in Paradise Lost. In addition to clarifying confusing passages, an antitrinitarian reading demonstrates Milton's masterful use of 17th century English Protestantism "buzz-words" to mask his true beliefs without compromising his personal religious convictions about the second member of the Christian Triune Godhead.

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2016-12