By Harold Bloom
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Extra resources for Anton Chekhov
Is the continuity or integrity of the self thrown in doubt? Such questions obviously point toward something like a Freudian model of consciousness, tapping into a potent unconscious, but as Fre´de´ric’s case also illustrates, they equally reflect the multiform nature of an external, preeminently urban reality that imposes an overload of stimuli on the experiencing mind. In the modernist novel, the lines of demarcation between different states of consciousness are often deliberately blurred or altogether erased.
In any case, as Fre´de´ric slips into a deeper level of dreaming (“But the dream had already seized him”), his focus switches from Mme Arnoux to the woman who is her antithesis, Rosanette, identified here as the Marshal, the costume persona she adopted for the ball. This concluding image of the dream, and of the chapter, is truly nightmarish, unless one prefers to regard it as a masochist’s wish-fulfillment dream: Rosanette (at the home of Arnoux, her current lover) astride Fre´de´ric, disemboweling him with those all-too-well-remembered golden spurs.
No novelist of the nineteenth century could serve better than Dickens to dislodge linear conceptions of the development of the novel. His gifts and his writing procedures are in most respects precisely antithetical to those of Flaubert. ) Whereas Flaubert wrote with meticulous slowness, painstakingly revising, and virtually invented the so-called art novel, Dickens wrote at breakneck speed THE REALISM OF METAPHOR 45 ) for serial publication, brilliantly improvising. Though his concern with the problematic character of contemporary urban reality—a concern manifested in the works of few other Victorian novelists—progressively deepened, he never ceased to see himself as a popular entertainer.
Anton Chekhov by Harold Bloom