This is a live blogging of the session.
virtue, power, and economics
emphasis = Â presenting criminals “as they really are”
“Carlyle says economy is a mutual hostility through fair competition in Past and Present (146).”
political economy creates false assumptions about the relation btw finance and integrity
â€œDickens had hoped that his readers would appreciate — the point that Oliver, having resisted evil, had come to the end of his progress and had obtained his just reward. The problem is that the novel makes Oliver’s reward a matter of little concern. â€œ
switched from Dickens and Oliver and moved to Thackerayâ€™s response to Nancy in Oliver Twist
his contention that Principle of Good had not been transferred to Dickens’s work
not because virtuous but incomplete virtue
No one moves from virtuous to jaded in a straight even trajectory.
â€œfailure to turn these figures into complete human beings” (Colby 152).
Colby, Robert A. Thackerayâ€™s Canvass of Humanity: An Author and His Public. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1979. Print.
Newgate Novels eventually sequed into sensational novels.
Thackeray picks on Dickens because the public believes that Dickensâ€™ characterizations are real; the problem is not that they are realistic but that they are NOT realistic, but still have melodramatic elements and improbable virtues that criminals would not deal with.
Thackeray says he is going to paint â€œreal criminalsâ€ and Vanity Fair is a balanced assessment of what a real con-artist criminal is like. He assumes that he has undone the Newgate Novel.
He reshaped the assessment of criminal character. Did what he sat out to do, which was to change reactions of the general culture.