This provocative biography tells the story of how an ambitious young Londoner became England’s greatest novelist. Focused on the 1830s, it portrays a restless, uncertain Dickens who could not decide on a career path. Through twists and turns, the author traces a double transformation: in reinventing himself Dickens reinvented the form of the novel.
Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian Londonexplores not only the challenges faced by reformers as they strove toclean up an increasingly filthy city but the resistance to their efforts.Beginning in the 1830s, reform-minded citizens, under the banner of sanitaryimprovement, plunged into London’s dark and dirty spaces and returned withthe material they needed to promote public health legislation and magnificentprojects of sanitary engineering. Sanitary reform, however, was not alwaysmet with unqualified enthusiasm. While some improvements, such as slumclearances, the development of sewerage, and the embankment of the Thames,may have made London a cleaner place to live, these projects also destroyedand reshaped the built environment, and in doing so, altered the meanings andexperiences of the city.
From the novels of Charles Dickens and George Gissing to anonymous magazinearticles and pamphlets, resistance to reform found expression in the nostalgicappreciation of a threatened urban landscape and anxiety about domestic autonomyin an era of networked sanitary services. Cleansing the City emphasizes the disruptions and disorientation occasioned by purification—a process we are generally inclined to see as positive. By recovering these sometimes oppositional, sometimes ambivalent responses, Michelle Allen elevates a significant undercurrent of Victorian thought into the mainstream and thus provides insight into the contested nature of sanitary modernization.
From 1850 to 1867, Charles Dickens produced special issues (called “numbers”) of his journals Household Words and All the Year Round, which were released shortly before Christmas each year. In Collaborative Dickens, Melisa Klimaszewski undertakes the first comprehensive study of these Christmas numbers. She argues for a revised understanding of Dickens as an editor who, rather than ceaselessly bullying his contributors, sometimes accommodated contrary views and depended upon multivocal narratives for his own success.
Klimaszewski uncovers connections among and between the stories in each Christmas collection. She thus reveals ongoing conversations between the works of Dickens and his collaborators on topics important to the Victorians, including race, empire, supernatural hauntings, marriage, disability, and criminality. Stories from Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, and understudied women writers such as Amelia B. Edwards and Adelaide Anne Procter interact provocatively with Dickens’s writing. By restoring links between stories from as many as nine different writers in a given year, Klimaszewski demonstrates that a respect for the Christmas numbers’ plural authorship and intertextuality results in a new view of the complexities of collaboration in the Victorian periodical press and a new appreciation for some of the most popular texts Dickens published.
Eileen Gillooly Deirdre David The Ohio State University Press, 2008 Library of Congress PR4588.C639 2009 | Dewey Decimal 823.8
Edited by Eileen Gillooly and Deirdre David, Contemporary Dickens is a collection of essays that presents some of the most intriguing work being undertaken in Dickens studies today. Through an emphasis on the nineteenth-century origins of our current critical preoccupations and ways of knowing, these essays reveal Dickens to be our contemporary. The contributors argue that such issues as gender and sexuality, environmentalism, and the construction of national identity were frequently explored and sometimes problematically resolved by Dickens himself. They also illuminate the importance of Dickens’s place in our current reassessment of critical methodologies.
Drawing freely upon a variety of reading strategies (materialist, deconstructive, new historical, psychoanalytic, and feminist), the essays disclose new aspects of Dickens’s engagements with a number of Victorian concerns—moral philosophy, the psychology of the emotions, and life writing among them—that have once again emerged as significant objects of study in early-twenty-first century criticism. Looking at such familiar topics from fresh perspectives, Contemporary Dickens is an original and challenging contribution to Dickens studies in particular and Victorian criticism in general.
Contemporary Dickens will appeal to general readers and students of Victorian culture, as well as specialists in nineteenth-century literature, cultural studies, literary formalism, psychology, and gender studies.
A charming memento of the Victorian era’s literary colossus, The Daily Charles Dickens is a literary almanac for the ages. Tenderly and irreverently anthologized by Dickens scholar James R. Kincaid, this collection mines the British author’s beloved novels and Christmas stories as well as his lesser-known sketches and letters for “an around-the-calendar set of jolts, soothings, blandishments, and soarings.”
A bedside companion to dip into year round, this book introduces each month with a longer seasonal quote, while concise bits of wisdom and whimsy mark each day. Hopping gleefully from Esther Summerson’s abandonment by her mother in Bleak House to a meditation on the difficult posture of letter-writing in The Pickwick Papers, this anthology displays the wide range of Dickens’s stylistic virtuosity—his humor and his deep tragic sense, his ear for repetition, and his genius at all sorts of voices. Even the devotee will find between these pages a mix of old friends and strangers—from Oliver Twist and Ebenezer Scrooge to the likes of Lord Coodle, Sir Thomas Doodle, Mrs. Todgers, and Edwin Drood—as well as a delightful assortment of the some of the novelist’s most famous, peculiar, witty, and incisive passages, tailored to fit the season. To give one particularly apt example: David Copperfield blunders, in a letter of apology to Agnes Wickfield, “I began one note, in a six-syllable line, ‘Oh, do not remember’—but that associated itself with the fifth of November, and became an absurdity.”
Never Pecksniffian or Gradgrindish, this daily dose of Dickens crystallizes the novelist’s agile humor and his reformist zeal alike. This is a book to accompany you through the best of times and the worst of times.
Charles Dickens traveled to North America twice, in 1842 and twenty-five years later in 1867–68, and on both trips Massachusetts was part of his itinerary. Although many aspects of his U.S. travels disappointed him, Massachusetts was the one state that met and even exceeded Dickens's expectations for "the republic of [his] imagination." From the mills of Lowell to the Perkins School for the Blind, it offered an alternate vision of America that influenced his future writings, while the deep and lasting friendships he formed with Bostonians gave him enduring ties to the commonwealth.
This volume provides insight from leading scholars who have begun to reassess the significance of Massachusetts in the author's life and work. The collection begins with a broad biographical and historical overview taken from the full-length narrative of the award-winning exhibition Dickens and Massachusetts: A Tale of Power and Transformation, which attracted thousands of visitors while on display in Lowell. Abundant images from the exhibition, many of them difficult to find elsewhere, enhance the story of Dickens's relationship with the vibrant cultural and intellectual life of Massachusetts. The second section includes essays that consider the importance of Dickens's many connections to the commonwealth.
In addition to the volume editors, contributors include Chelsea Bray, Iain Crawford, Andre DeCuir, Natalie McKnight, Lillian Nayder, and Kit Polga.
Charles Dickens once commented that in each of his Christmas stories there is “an express text preached on . . . always taken from the lips of Christ.” This preaching, Linda M. Lewis contends, does not end with his Christmas stories but extends throughout the body of his work. In Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader, Lewis examines parable and allegory in nine of Dickens’s novels as an entry into understanding the complexities of the relationship between Dickens and his reader.
Through the combination of rhetorical analysis of religious allegory and cohesive study of various New Testament parables upon which Dickens based the themes of his novels, Lewis provides new interpretations of the allegory in his novels while illuminating Dickens’s religious beliefs. Specifically, she alleges that Dickens saw himself as valued friend and moral teacher to lead his “dear reader” to religious truth.
Dickens’s personal gospel was that behavior is far more important than strict allegiance to any set of beliefs, and it is upon this foundation that we see allegory activated in Dickens’s characters. Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop exemplify the Victorian “cult of childhood” and blend two allegorical texts: Jesus’s Good Samaritan parable and John Bunyan’s ThePilgrim’s Progress. In Dombey and Son,Dickens chooses Jesus’s parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders. In the autobiographical David Copperfield, Dickens engages his reader through an Old Testament myth and a New Testament parable: the expulsion from Eden and the Prodigal Son, respectively.
Led by his belief in and desire to preach his social gospel and broad church Christianity, Dickens had no hesitation in manipulating biblical stories and sermons to suit his purposes. Bleak House is Dickens’s apocalyptic parable about the Day of Judgment, while Little Dorrit echoes the line “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” from the Lord’s Prayer, illustrating through his characters that only through grace can all debt be erased. The allegory of the martyred savior is considered in Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens’s final completed novel, Our Mutual Friend, blends the parable of the Good and Faithful Servant with several versions of the Heir Claimant parable.
While some recent scholarship debunks the sincerity of Dickens’s religious belief, Lewis clearly demonstrates that Dickens’s novels challenge the reader to investigate and develop an understanding of New Testament doctrine. Dickens saw his relationship with his reader as a crucial part of his storytelling, and through his use and manipulation of allegory and parables, he hoped to influence the faith and morality of that reader.
Dickens The Novelist
Leavis, F. R. Rutgers University Press, 1979 Library of Congress PR4588.L36x 1979
In The Great Tradition, published in 1948, F. R. Leavis seemed to rate the work of Charles Dickens - with the exception of Hard Times - as lacking the seriousness and formal control of the true masters of English fiction. By 1970, when Dickens the Novelist was published on the first centenary of the writer's death, Leavis and his lifelong collaborator Q. D. (Queenie) Leavis, had changed their minds. 'Our purpose', they wrote, 'is to enforce as unanswerably as possible the conviction that Dickens was one of the greatest of creative writers ...' In seven typically robust and uncompromising chapters, the Leavises grapple with the evaluation of a writer who was then still open to dismissal as a mere entertainer, a caricaturist not worthy of discussion in the same breath as Henry James. Q. D. Leavis shows, for example, how deeply influential David Copperfield was on the work of Tolstoy, and explores the symbolic richness of the nightmare world of Bleak House. F. R. Leavis reprints his famous essay on Hard Times, with its moral critique of utilitarianism, and reveals the imaginative influence of Blake on Little Dorrit. Q. D. Leavis contributes a pathbreaking chapter on the importance of Dickens's illustrators to the effect of his work.
This volume collects for the first time all of Charles Dickens' extant plans and notes for his novels. Dickens wrote his novels in segments during the course of serial publication. Beginning with Dombey and Son, the sixth novel, he wrote out plans for each segment as he went along, sketching future developments, querying himself about options, noting motifs, establishing recurrent images, working out chronologies, experimenting with names, and, in general, reminding himself of what he had done and what he should do next. Some notes survive from before Dombey and those for a few novels after that are incomplete or abbreviated, but for the most part the plan from Dombey on are full and complete. Each sheet of these notes is reproduced here in actual-size photographic facsimile and is transcribed on the facing page in typographic facsimile, a format that preserves Dickens' holographic nuances and at the same time allows for the instant decipherment of his often difficult hand. Included are his plans for The Old Curiosity Shop, Martin Chuzzlewit, Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, Our Mutual Friend, and Edwin Drood. The volume also contains thirty-three full-page illustrations and a full-color frontispiece.
Harry Stone, an internationally recognized Dickens scholar, provides the reader with a full account of Dickens' methods of planning and working. In a comprehensive introduction and extensive notes, he uses Dickens' written plans to illuminate the thought and technique of the novels. He examines creative concerns, such as Dickens' process of naming and visualization, and technical matters, such as his use of various pen nibs, ink colors, and papers.
By making fully available and comprehensible Dickens' own cache of in-process plans, possibilities, and alternatives for shaping his novels, Dickens' Working Notes offers unparalleled insights into the novelist's art and into the nature of the creative imagination.
Dickens’s Forensic Realism: Truth, Bodies, Evidence by Andrew Mangham is one of the first studies to bring the medical humanities to bear on the work of Dickens. Turning to the field of forensic medicine (or medical jurisprudence), Mangham uncovers legal and medical contexts for Dickens’s ideas that result in new readings of novels, short stories, and journalism by this major Victorian author. Dickens’s Forensic Realism argues that the rich and unstable nature of truth and representation in Dickens owes much to the ideas and strategies of a forensic Victorian age, obsessed with questioning the relationship between clues and truths, evidences and answers.
As Mangham shows, forensic medicine grew out of a perceived need to understand things with accuracy, leaning in part on the range of objectivities that inspired the inorganic sciences. At the same time, it had the burden of assisting the law in convicting the guilty and in exonerating the innocent. Practitioners of forensic medicine were uniquely mindful of unwanted variables such as human error and the vagaries of interpretation. In readings of Oliver Twist, Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House, The Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations, and Dickens’s early journalism, Mangham demonstrates that these questions about signification, perception, and reality are central to the stylistic complexities and playful tone often associated with Dickens. Moreover, the medico-legal context of Dickens’s fiction illuminates the richness and profundity, style and impact of Dicken’s narratives.
John R. Reed The Ohio State University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PR4592.R37R44 2010 | Dewey Decimal 823.8
In Dickens’s Hyperrealism, John R. Reed examines certain features of Dickens’s style to demonstrate that the Inimitable consciously resisted what came to be known as realism in the genre of the novel. Dickens used some techniques associated with realism, such as description and metonymy, to subvert the purposes usually associated with it. Reed argues that Dickens used such devices as personification and present-tense narration, which are anathema to the realist approach. He asserts that Dickens preferred a heightened reality, not realism. And, unlike the realism which seeks to mask authorial control of how readers read his novels, Dickens wanted to demonstrate, first openly, and later in his career more subtly, his command over his narratives.
This book opens a new avenue for investigating Dickens’s mastery of his art and his awareness of its literary context. In addition, it reopens the whole issue of realism as a definition and examines the variety of genres that coexisted in the Victorian period.
Peter Clark Haus Publishing, 2019 Library of Congress PR4584.C58 2012
Marking the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s death, Dickens’s London leads us in the footsteps of the author through this beloved city. Few novelists have written so intimately about a place as Dickens wrote about London, and, from a young age, his near-photographic memory rendered his experiences there both significant and in constant focus. Virginia Woolf maintained that “we remodel our psychological geography when we read Dickens,” as he produces “characters who exist not in detail, not accurately or exactly, but abundantly in a cluster of wild yet extraordinarily revealing remarks.” The most enduring “character” Dickens was drawn back to throughout his novels was London itself, in all its aspects, from the coaching inns of his early years to the taverns and watermen of the Thames. These were the constant cityscapes of his life and work.
In five walks through central London, Peter Clark explores “The First Suburbs”—Camden Town, Chelsea, Greenwich, Hampstead, Highgate and Limehouse—as they feature in Dickens’s writing and illuminates the settings of Dickens’s life and his greatest works of journalism and fiction. Describing these storied spaces of today’s central London in intimate detail, Clark invites us to experience the city as it was known to Dickens and his characters. These walks take us through the locations and buildings that he interacted with and wrote about, creating an imaginative reconstruction of the Dickensian world that has been lost to time.
Dostoevsky and Romantic Realism is Donald Fanger's groundbreaking study of the art of Dostoevsky and the literary and historical context in which it was created. Through detailed analyses of the work of Balzac, Dickens, and Gogol, Fanger identifies romantic realism, the transformative fusion of two generic categories, as a powerful imaginary response to the great modern city. This fusion reaches its aesthetic and metaphysical climax in Dostoevsky, whose vision culminating in Crime and Punishment is seen by Fanger as the final synthesis of romantic realism.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, England became quite literally a world on wheels. The sweeping technological changes wrought by the railways, steam-powered factory engines, and progressively more sophisticated wheeled conveyances of all types produced a corresponding revolution in Victorian iconography: the image of the wheel emerged as a dominant trope for power, modernity, and progress.
In Fortune’s Wheel, an original and illuminating study, Elizabeth Campbell explores the ways in which Charles Dickens appropriated and made central to his novels the dominant symbol of his age. Between 1840 and 1860, a transformation took place in Dickens’ thinking about gender and time, and this revolution is recorded in iconographic representations of the goddess Fortune and wheel imagery that appear in his work.
Drawing on a rich history of both literary and visual representations of Fortune, Professor Campbell argues that Dickens’ contribution to both the iconographic and narrative traditions was to fuse the classical image of the wheel with the industrial one. As the wheel was increasingly identified as the official Victorian symbol for British industrial and economic progress, Dickens reacted by employing this icon to figure a more pessimistic historical vision—as the tragic symbol for human fate in the nineteenth century.
Fortune’s Wheel ably portrays the concept that, in both text and illustrations, images of fortune and the wheel in Dickens’ work record his abandonment of a linear, progressive, and arguably masculine view of history to embrace a cyclical model that has been identified with “women’s time.”
Just as his great contemporary William Makepeace Thackeray, Charles Dickens found his footing as a writer in the early-nineteenth-century market for popular print entertainment. However, even though Thackeray was a skilled caricaturist and a prolific producer of political squibs, burlesques, and ballads, he thought of novel writing as a serious literary pursuit that needed to be separated from mere “magazinery.” On the other hand, Dickens did not personally produce graphic caricatures or even the sort of squibs with which Thackeray flooded the pages of Punch, but these forms had a huge influence on his fiction.
In London, Radical Culture, and the Making of the Dickensian Aesthetic, Sambudha Sen argues that the popular novelistic aesthetic that underlay Dickens’s fiction was composed of, above all, the expressive resources that it absorbed from the nineteenth-century market for print and visual entertainment. Sen’s book aims to precisely chart the series of displacements and “reactivations” by which expressive strategies of these extraliterary discourses found their way into Dickens’s novels. Sen also examines the ways in which the expressive modes that Dickens absorbed from popular print and visual culture affected his novelistic techniques. Sen draws on some of Thackeray’s novels to illustrate how Dickens’s representation of “character” within the big city and his negotiations of the ceremonial discourses of power differ from Thackeray’s more properly literary representations.
London, Radical Culture, and the Making of the Dickensian Aesthetic breaks new ground in its elaboration of the symbiotic relationship between the Dickensian “popular novelistic aesthetic” and expressive resources that germinated in popular forms such as radical journalism, radical cartooning, city sketches, and panoramas. It is therefore likely to generate further research on the interanimation between canonical literature and popular forms.
Neurasthenia, rail shock, hysteria. In Narrating Trauma, Gretchen Braun traces the nineteenth-century prehistory of those mental and physical responses that we now classify as post-traumatic stress and explores their influence on the Victorian novel. Engaging dialogues between both present-day and nineteenth-century mental science and literature, Braun examines novels that show the development of the mental dysfunction known as nervous disorder, positing that it was understood not as a failure of reason but instead as an organically based, crippling disjunction between the individual mind and its social context—with sufferers inhabiting spaces between sanity and madness.
Spanning from the early Victorian period to the fin de siècle and encompassing realist, Gothic, sentimental, and sensation fiction, Narrating Trauma studies trauma across works of fiction by Charlotte Brontë, Emily Jolly, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Hardy. In doing so, Braun brings both nineteenth-century science and current theories of trauma to bear on the narrative patterns that develop around mentally disordered women and men feminized by nervous disorder, creating a framework for novelistic critique of modern lifestyles, stressors, and institutions.
In Telling Complexions Mary Ann O’Farrell explores the frequent use of "the blush" in Victorian novels as a sign of characters’ inner emotions and desires. Through lively and textured readings of works by such writers as Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, and Henry James, O’Farrell illuminates literature’s relation to the body and the body’s place in culture. In the process, she plots a trajectory for the nineteenth-century novel’s shift from the practices of manners to the mode of self-consciousness. Although the blush was used to tell the truth of character and body, O’Farrell shows how it is actually undermined as a stable indicator of character in novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, North and South, and David Copperfield. She reveals how these writers then moved on in search of other bodily indicators of mortification and desire, among them the swoon, the scar, and the blunder. Providing unique and creative insights into the constructedness of the body and its semiotic play in literature and in culture, Telling Complexions includes parallel examples of the blush in contemporary culture and describes ways that textualized bodies are sometimes imagined to resist the constraints imposed by such construction.
Text and Culture was first published in 1989. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In Text & Culture, Daniel Cottom examines the political aspects of contemporary disciplines of interpretation. He pleads against limiting the act of reading by disqualifying some readings as "wrong" or unscholarly, and he argues for the necessity of multiple readings, claiming that a closed-off text glosses over differences that are political in nature. He proceeds, then, from the notion of text to culture. Just as the reading of the text is conditioned by irreducible political differences, so is the reading of culture. Finally, to illustrate and further develop his arguments, Cottom presents an extensive analysis of Great Expectations.
Cottom's materials range from academic jokes to King Lear, and the writers he discusses range from Kant to Derrida, from Freud to Basil Bernstein, from Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bronislaw Malinowski to Erving Goffman, Clifford Geertz, and Stanley Fish. This study is especially concerned with the way "culture" and related terms, such as "context" and "norm," are part of a larger discourse in the contemporary humanities and social sciences - a discourse in which their effect is to repress recognition of important historical differences, conflicts, and possibilities. At the same time that he shows how difficult it is to get "beyond culture," he tries to indicate how interpretation may be turned into a more socially responsible practice.
Daniel Cottom is associate professor of English at the University of Florida. He is the author of Social Figures: George Eliot, Social History, and Literary Representation (Minnesota, 1987) and The Civilized Imagination: A Study of Ann Radcliffe, Jane Austen, and Sir Walter Scott.