1981 | 3 |
Article title

Elementy detektywne w kompozycji "Bleak House" Karola Dickensa

Title variants
Detective Elements in the Composition of "Bleak House" by Charles Dickons
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"Bleak House" has been considered Dickens' most significant contribution to the emergence of the detective genres in English literature. This opinion has generally been formed on thé basis of the episode in which Inspector Bucket unravels the mystery of Tulkinghom's murder. Having undoubtedly all the structural features of a well constructed deteotive story this episode seems not to exhaust the problem. By means of detailed analysis of particular aspects of the novel the paper tries to find other elements which contribute to the same effect. Thus, strong detective tendencies are found in the composition as well as function of several other characters (particularly Tulkinghorn), in some motifs other than that of the murder of Tulkinghom (e.g. the secret of Lady Dedlock), in the characteristic structure of these motifs (question - activity directed towards finding the solution - the solution). Confronting the comparatively great number of detective elements present in the whole novel with those from the Bucket episode the author tries to find out why it is only the latter fragment that immediately strikes the critics as a deteötive story the rest of the novel being seldom mentioned. The answer is provided by the analysis of narration and viewpoint. Skilfully playing with two narrators - Esther (in the form of a diary) and the author - Dickens is constantly changing the scope of their point of view. In the case of Esther he moves from a typical retrospection of a person who- knows what will happen later to a person who registers every incident at a given momentj in the case of the author the narrative forms cover a very wide range from an omnipresent and omniscient Olympian commentator of human actions as well as thoughts and intentions to an external witness of events only. When analysed closely these numerous shifts in viewpoint show striking consistency - the greater the number of detective elements in a given fragment the stronger the tendenoy to limit the knowledge of the narrator and, in this way, to approach the "Dr. Watson narrator" - a narrative technique moet suitable for the requirements of detective genres. The application of this technique in the Bucket episode accounts for the general characterization of it as a typically detective composition; its lack in the remaining part of the novel results in a frequent overlooking of many elements of undoubtedly detective character. Such use of the shifting viewpoint shows, on the one hand, Dickens' instinctive feeling for the best coordination between theme and form, and, on the othex- hand, underlines the significance of the problems of narration in the detective genres.
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