The Esoteric Comedies of Carlyle, Newman, and Yeats by Steven HelmingThe Esoteric Comedies of Carlyle, Newman, and Yeats by Steven Helming

The Esoteric Comedies of Carlyle, Newman, and Yeats

bySteven Helming

Paperback | April 30, 2009

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This book examines the function of irony and humor in Carlyle's Sartor Resartus, Newman's Apologist and Yeats' A Vision. Steven Helmling identifies in these three unusual texts a comic sensibility that has its roots in Augustan satire. In his view, the works are 'proto-modernist', exemplifying a major cultural shift that was to find expression in the avant-garde comic self-consciousness and the 'black humor' of writers like Joyce, Beckett and Pynchon. Hemling analyzes the motives and functions of parody, the uses of difficulty and self-referentiality, and the development of ironic personae (in Carlyle) or presentations of the self as eccentric or foolish (in Newman and Yeats). Such devices were central to these imaginative writers, who sought to address an audience that was increasingly homogenized by the emergence of mass culture. The book attempts to explain why, over the course of a century, ambitious works of art became increasingly difficult and demanding, culminating in the daunting masterpieces of 'high' modernism. By asserting the continuity of a genre of esoteric comedy, it provides not only an account of three very different careers, but also explores in a fresh light some of the origins of modernism.
Title:The Esoteric Comedies of Carlyle, Newman, and YeatsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0.63 inPublished:April 30, 2009Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521109698

ISBN - 13:9780521109697

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: esoteric comedy and 'the gymnastics of talent; 2. The 'thaumaturgic art of thought': Carlyle's Sartor Resartus; 3. 'Hippoclides doesn't care': Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua; 4. 'Because there is safety in derision': Yeats's A Vision; Conclusion: esoteric comedy and 'making the unconscious conscious; Notes; Index.