A Companion to Charles Dickens by David Paroissien

By David Paroissien

A spouse to Charles Dickens concentrates at the old, ideological, and social forces that outlined Dickens’s international.

  • Puts Dickens’s paintings into its literary, ancient, and social contexts
  • Traces the advance of Dickens’s profession as a journalist and novelist
  • Includes unique essays by way of best Dickensian students on every one of Dickens’s fifteen novels
  • Explores a extensive diversity of issues, together with criticisms of his novels, using heritage and legislations in his fiction, language, and the impression of political and social reform
  • Examines Dickens's legacy and surveys the mass of secondary fabrics that has been generated in reaction and reverence to his writing

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This he describes as a “story of maternal rejection and cruelty which, in certain details, Dickens surely identified with his own story” (1983: 13). ” Then, Slater notes, in “George Silverman’s Explanation” (1868) comes “Dickens’s most lurid exploitation since writing Oliver Twist, thirty-odd years before, of his own private legend, that undying memory . . of an exceptionally gifted and sensitive child, fired with glorious ambition, being nearly ruined for life by a mother transformed by poverty” (1983: 23).

A more complex instance of the “use” of the autobiographical fragment might also be found through identical disruptions of the text held in apposition to each other between the fragment itself and David Copperfield. An image, a form of words, a sensation brings the two together, though the narrative context does not. What this “coincidence” reveals is not the gradual opening up of the author’s life story, first in autobiography and later in fiction, but rather an inescapable preoccupation with experience itself, sensation and intention, in terms of immediacy and control.

Figures of motherliness people the fragment in reproach. Fathers are relatively indulged. Yet the author who “never afterwards forgot . . never shall . . ” Critical response to the autobiographical fragment has registered Dickens’s proclamation and protest to different degrees, and plotted the importance of the autobiographical fragment to his work accordingly, swerving between the psychoanalysis of traumatic return and the celebration of triumph in its endless productivity. Freud cuts a figure through this criticism, but the procedure may be simplified by the recognition that Freud was a reader of Dickens.

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