Footnotes to a History of the Victorian Novel
1. An unpublished vignette, in which the heroine believes her voice is trapped inside her mother's gold cigarette case.
2. Within the foyer, an odd stillness. Upon finding him she hid the laudanum in a cabinet of dried violets and tiny silver spoons. Her unmindful stare.
3. "It was only after that I realized the gravity of the situation. Out of my jewelry box the most delicate insect emerged, its ominous buzzing."
1. To quell, crush or end by force.
†2. To suppress or withhold.
3. To kill by impeding respiration; to smother.
5. In a little known version of the myth, Penelope realizes that her household has been usurped by the maids. Each disconcerted by her new posture. A chorus rising from their cool white throats.
6. Again the hidden Faustian motif. Despite numerous descriptions of the empty field, one senses the ubiquitous presence of the sea.
7. Denouement. Translated quite literally as "the action of untying."
8. This film version of Gaskell's North and South (c. 1986) depicts Margaret as an elderly widow. Although its nameplate was shattered during production, the statuette remains among the museum's special collections.
9. See also The Cambridge Companion to English Literature.
An Introduction to the Lyric Ode
8. Let each room grow dim. Note the confluence of evening and a thousand unopened
7. Thus, we see the connection between lyric transcendence and place.
a. In an effort to balance desire with restraint, the Romantics were said to take their
opium in a field of poppies.
b. "And it was only then that the most unusual bird would emerge, singing."
Where exactly? And how?
"In the meadow. It was when you were sleeping, so the thistles were out of
But what sort of event was it, precisely? I don't understand the occasion, or the light catching
in every darkened window.
c. The beloved should be accompanied by a euphony of tiny silver bells.
6. For the work to succeed, one must recognize the difference between life and art. In
other words, partaking in a lush pastoral scene is not the same as observing it.
5. "Now my covetous eye casts over you, taking you apart. I'd like a trophy of you for
each room of the house."
a. Occurring within the individual psyche as opposed to the external world.
b. Psychology. Existing only in the experience of the mind.
c. Relating to the nature of something; essential.
3. Within the narrative, a disconcerting stillness. That was when she wandered the unlit
house, a heavy fog drifting through all the windows. Her glass of water still shimmering
on the nightstand.
2. A hollow murmur. Every violet burned to the ground.
1. "I have overtaken you."
That very evening, the connoisseur presented Madeleine with an usual box. Despite its
array of glass buttons and sheet music, he explained, one must never open the smallest
compartment. But before long the room would darken. Alone with her
sanctimonious parcel, its blue paper wrapping, and cluster of green ribbons, Madeleine
heard the old piano's most delicate song drifting from beneath the lid. Around the
box, a disconcerting stillness. Snow falling outside the great white house as she danced
The Blue Sonnets
Once his guests left for the ocean, the connoisseur wrote for Madeleine the first of the
blue sonnets. "You see," he would explain years later, "they require both solitude and
music." Alone in the house, he began to picture the wrinkles in her green silk gloves.
The connoisseur's smallest harp singing as he worked. But it was only after the last
note that he affixed the word denouement in a great rectangular frame. Its sound
crashing like waves against the darkest corners of the room.
Once he took Madeleine to the opera house, it was never long before the connoisseur
mentioned the lockets. "Really," she would plead, "I don't understand why we can't
just forget them." That was when he pulled from his pocket a photograph hanging on
a red silk string. A countertenor crooning as the picture spun and spun. Madeleine
could do nothing but mumble before its sepia glow, her own blurred image, and the
tiny pinhole from which the connoisseur had painstakingly suspended it. She
wondered if only he could appreciate the infinite variety of the lockets.