Art as Reflection in Jessica Anderson’s Tirra Lirra by the River
Jessica Anderson's title is, at first sight, uninviting. Even the most ardent Tennyson reader must have secretly felt that Sir Lancelot could have found something more profound or manly to sing than 'Tirra lirra', and to single out this line for a title seems only to emphasize its deficiencies. However the title in fact points to one of the most important themes of the novel—one which, I believe, has been overlooked by critics—namely the author's assertion of her criteria of art.
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Published 1 May 1986 in Volume 12 No. 3. Subjects: Art, Characterisation, Literary allusions & references, Literary techniques, structures & modes, Reality, Titles of literary works, Jessica Anderson.