Chatterton

Chatterton

Peter Ackroyd

Language: English

Pages: 234

ISBN: 0802134807

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), apparently a suicide at 18, posthumously astonished literary England when he was revealed as the author of a sequence of famous and influential "medieval" poems he claimed to have discovered. An authentic talent as well as a literary counterfeiter, he is the guiding spirit of Peter Ackroyd's brilliant novel. In today's London, a young poet and an elderly novelist engage the mystery of Chatterton by trying to decode the clues found in an old manuscript, only to discover that their investigation discloses other riddles for which there are no solutions. Chatterton is at once a hilariously witty comedy; a thoughtful and dramatic exploration of the deepest issues of authenticity in both life and art; and a subtle and touching story of failed lives, parental love, doomed marriages, and erotic passions.

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prosody of William Blake's epic verse. Professor Brillo also studies the devices by which Blake introduced the subliminal figure of Chatterton, the suicide, into his texts and discusses the influence of Chatterton's medievalism on Blake's own vision. As Professor Brillo states in his introduction, "This is the one subject which Blake scholars have seemed unwilling to address, for it assumes that Blake was influenced by the work of a forger and a plagiarist. But it would not be going too far to

handwriting, the same words repeated over and over again; brightly coloured pictures of men and women with no eyes, and with wild crayon marks covering their limbs; maps of the world disfigured with hieroglyphics; forests of dark trees in which small human figures could only faintly be seen; and, in various corners of the gallery, sculptures made out of wood or straw with bottle-tops for eyes and string for hair. 'Oh,' said Claire suddenly, 'that one looks like the Deputy Head!' And indeed one

alarmed. 'Can't you see he's trying to hurt you?' Charles went over to the canvas, and turned it to the wall. 'He can't hurt me. He's dead.' 'How do you know, Dad?' Edward spoke slowly, as if his father was a child whom he had to convince with very clear arguments. 'He's alive in the picture, isn't he?' 'Seeing is believing,' Charles said, almost to himself. He seized Edward's hand. 'I'll tell you what. I'll make a deal with you: if I showed you a picture of him dead, would you believe that?'

Dyen? Without words, Chatterton thinks, there is nothing. There is no real world. Without words I cannot even warn or protect you. Look, he says, taking a coin from the pocket of his great-coat. Look, this is for you. Food. He holds up the sixpence, and it gleams in the sunlight. But the boy is still crooning to the doll. Without words you are in a different time. You exist in some other place, where you are calm. The boy notices the winking coin, and snatches it from his hand. Food. You must buy

and Philip blushed. They walked on in silence while Edward ran ahead of them, kicking a blue football between the trees. '1 remember how much it meant to him,' Vivien said after a while, her tone changed now. 'He always kept it by his desk. Sometimes, you know –' and she laughed at this – 'sometimes he used to talk to it.' Philip looked away for a moment. 'I think,' he said, 'that his poetry changed after he found it.' 'Perhaps it found him.' 'I know.' The wind stirred the tops of the trees, and

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