Thackeray's Cultural Frame of Reference

Thackeray's Cultural Frame of Reference

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McMaster has made an extensive identification and detailed study of the many kinds of allusions to be found in The Newcomes. There are allusions to classical, foreign-language, and English literature, as well as to the Bible, fables, theatre, opera, popular songs, nursery rhymes, newspapers, art, English and French history, and the topography of London. These allusions saturate the text of The Newcomes and appeal to several different readerships. McMaster specifies what Thackeray's contemporaries would have recognized and responded to and suggests interactions between the text and its readers. The cultural density of The Newcomes is identified by McMaster as textual, intertextual, and, to a degree, parodic. He shows that Thackeray exploited the dynamics of allusion -- through doubleness and ironic juxtaposition -- to achieve several ends. Not only does Thackeray present an archetypal and cyclical vision of life, he questions the status and value of diverse fictions and blurs the traditional distinctions between fiction and history, originality and convention, and nature and artifice. In his account of allusion, McMaster has used a simple and straightforward style, avoiding unnecessary jargon and cumbersome definitions. Thackeray's Cultural Frame of Reference reveals a Thackeray particularly amenable to a post-modern, and especially to an intertextual, approach to literature.The Diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon 5 vols (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1963) Vol. v, p. 148. Haydon ... Helen Smailes and Duncan Thomson, The Queena#39;s Image (Edinburgh: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1987) p. 57.

Title:Thackeray's Cultural Frame of Reference
Author:R. McMaster
Publisher:McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP - 1991-02-01


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