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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Poetic Allusion in the Victorian Novel” sets out to show that allusions in novels arise out of a concentrated nexus of authors, topics, histories, contexts, and meanings. That nexus produces profoundly unique instances of allusions, but notwithstanding the particularity of each instance, one can see that the richest allusions nearly always convey some tension or ambivalence beyond their easily explicable textual or narrative function. One can also register how allusions to the Bible and well-known poems (those of Tennyson and Coleridge, for instance) appealed to a sense of communal identity and sometimes served as a badge of class membership and privileged knowledge. Of special interest to this essay is the economy and compression of thought that poetic allusion in a novel permits and the way in which the power and intensity commonly associated with the language of poetry can be brought into prose.

Keywords: Allusion, Poetry, Prose, Intertextuality, Alfred Tennyson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Bible, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, William Shakespeare

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