“The best in this kind are but shadows”: Pathos of Aesthetic Alienation in New Grub Street and The Sandman
Nishat Atiya Shoilee
Abstract: Aesthesia or the art of perception involves an awareness of human tendencies and the Greek origin of the word, aisthesis stands for “one who perceives.” As much as an author might or might not find it significant to observe their surroundings and then fictionalize them to be able to emulate a lived reality, seen and heard all too well – one cannot disagree that once the vision they try to communicate achieves a heightened focus and is given a shape of words – the writer finds themselves in a mode of paradoxical nonexistence, in other words, aesthetic alienation. This paper aims to identify the very process through which a writerly vision comes true as an author decidedly chooses creative sincerity over domestic comfort as seen in George Gissing’s 1891 novel, New Grub Street, and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, a DC Vertigo comic series (1993). Closely examining the dramatis personae and their intimate imitation of the respective authors’ aesthetic beliefs, the article makes use of both primary and secondary data and discovers that the domain of creative genesis is always separated from the finished literary products, autonomous and distant.
Keywords: Aesthetics, Alienation, Literary Practice, Dream, Reality
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Published in September 2020