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By Robert C. Baldwin, James A. McPeek

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Roland Barthes, “The Reality Effect” (1967) in The Rustle of Language, transl. Richard Howard (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), 141–148. I provide a more thorough analysis of Barthes’ theory in Chap. 3. 37. Franco Moretti, “Serious Century” in The Novel, Volume I: History, Geography and Culture, ed. Franco Moretti et al. (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2006), 364–399. 38. Charles Dickens, Bleak House (Oxford University Classics, 1996 [1852– 1853]), 17, Henceforth, BH. 39. Véronique Bragard, “Introduction: Languages of Waste: Matter and Form in our Garbage,” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment (ISLE) 20.

28 The fact that the images themselves are ones recycled from his paintings and the technique a veritable textual translation of his visual practice can be seen as one more de-contextualisation. One such transposition is apparent in a depiction of a city of men who construct trophies for a living: 42 R. DINI Fig. 2 Giorgio de Chirico, “Two Figures” (1927). Oil on canvas. Art Resource, New York and ARSNY curious scaffolding, simultaneously severe and amusing, rose in the middle of the bedrooms and drawing-rooms, the delight and enjoyment of guests and children.

Waste functions as both a realist device and a mythical trope, relating the novel’s modern concerns to long-standing ones. Relatedly, literary depictions of waste amplify the novel’s concern with subjectivity. All reading involves looking at the world through another’s eyes, but reading about waste reminds us of the (often extreme) dissonance between that perspective and our own. If in real life we shudder at the INTRODUCTION 19 sight of garbage, or ignore it altogether, as readers we know to look closer.

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