Introduction: the ‘Ludicrous’ Text of Peter Ackroyd
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Peter Ackroyd: the Ludic and Labyrinthine Text addresses principally the novels and poetry of Peter Ackroyd. Aware as we are that this is one of the first full-length studies of Ackroyd’s work,1 we have nonetheless limited ourselves to considerations of The Great Fire of London, The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde, Hawksmoor, Chatterton, First Light, English Music, The House of Doctor Dee, Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, Milton in America, and the poems of Ouch, London Lickpenny, Country Life, and The Diversions of Purley and Other Poems, which is the most recent reprinting of poems selected from the previous three volumes.2 Ackroyd’s critical volume and cultural history of transvestism, Notes for a New Culture and Dressing Up — Transvestism and Drag, are considered briefly. The biographies are not discussed in any length, except where passages from these treat of London and support the reading of Ackroyd’s visions of the city from the novels The House of Doctor Dee and Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, in Chapter 4 of this book. Specifically, the biographies of Dickens, Blake and More will be referred to in discussions of urban space and the mediation of the city in the text.
KeywordsNational Identity Stable Identity English Empiricism Aesthetic Consideration Great Fire
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