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A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Charles Dickens' Bleak House

Overview

With its sustained social criticism and complex construction, Charles Dickens's Bleak House (1853) is considered by many critics to be Dickens's most remarkable novel. Janice Allan:

  • introduces the contextual issues that most directly influenced Dickens's writing and reprints relevant source documents
  • provides a comprehensive survey of the criticism of Bleak House from publication to the present, then ...
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Overview

With its sustained social criticism and complex construction, Charles Dickens's Bleak House (1853) is considered by many critics to be Dickens's most remarkable novel. Janice Allan:

  • introduces the contextual issues that most directly influenced Dickens's writing and reprints relevant source documents
  • provides a comprehensive survey of the criticism of Bleak House from publication to the present, then introduces, reprints and annotates extracts from significant critical texts
  • discusses key passages of the text, which are reprinted and fully annotated for ease of use
  • includes cross-references throughout, making illuminating connections between the text, contexts and interpretations of the novel
  • concludes the volume with suggestions to further reading, enabling additional focused study

Both accessible and informative, Janice Allan provides an invaluable guide to one of the nineteenth century's most important and frequently studied novels.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This rich and well-organized collections will be a great help to any reader confronting the complexities of Dickens's novel for the first time.' - Dickens Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415247733
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/1/2004
  • Series: Routledge Guides to Literature Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations x
Annotation and footnotes xi
Acknowledgements xii
Introduction 1
1 Contexts 7
Contextual Overview 9
A Neglected Child 10
The Rise of the Middle Classes 12
Constructions of Gender and the Separate Spheres 13
Slums, Sanitation and Policing 15
Chancery Court 18
The Literary Context 19
A Reminder 21
Chronology 22
Contemporary Documents 31
From Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present (1843) 31
From Hector Gavin, Sanitary Ramblings (1848) 32
From Alfred Whaley Cole, 'The Martyrs of Chancery' (1850) 34
From Charles Dickens, speech delivered to the Metropolitan Sanitary Association (1851) 36
From Charles Dickens, 'On Duty with Inspector Field' (1851) 38
From Charles Dickens, 'Suckling Pigs' (1851) 40
2 Interpretations 43
Critical History 45
The Contemporary Reaction 46
Reaction, Decline and Reassessment 49
Dickens in the Twentieth Century 51
Recent Developments 52
Early Critical Reception 56
From [Henry Fothergill Chorley], unsigned review, the Athenaeum (1853) 56
From [George Brimley], unsigned review, the Spectator (1853) 58
From anonymous review, the Illustrated London News (1853) 59
From anonymous review, Bentley's Miscellany (1853) 60
From anonymous review, Bentley's Monthly Review (1853) 61
Modern Criticism 62
From John Butt and Kathleen Tillotson, Dickens at Work (1957) 62
From J. Hillis Miller, 'Interpretation in Bleak House' (1971) 65
From Harvey P. Sucksmith, 'Sir Leicester Dedlock, Wat Tyler, and the Chartists: The Role of the Ironmaster in Bleak House' (1975) 71
From F.S. Schwarzbach, Dickens and the City (1979) 73
From Jane R. Cohen, Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators (1980) 77
From D.A. Miller, The Novel and the Police (1988) 81
From Elizabeth Langland, Nobody's Angels: Middle-Class Women and Domestic Ideology in Victorian Culture (1995) 84
From Carolyn Dever, Death and the Mother from Dickens to Freud: Victorian Fiction and the Anxiety of Origins (1998) 88
From Hilary M. Schor, Dickens and the Daughter of the House (1999) 93
3 Key Passages 99
Introduction 101
Key Passages 104
Chapter 1 In Chancery 104
Chapter 2 In Fashion 107
Chapter 3 A Progress 110
Chapter 4 Telescopic Philanthropy 113
Chapter 5 A Morning Adventure 114
Chapter 7 The Ghost's Walk 116
Chapter 8 Covering a Multitude of Sins 118
Chapter 10 The Law-Writer 122
Chapter 12 On the Watch 124
Chapter 16 Tom-all-Alone's 125
Chapter 22 Mr Bucket 130
Chapter 32 The Appointed Time 132
Chapter 35 Esther's Narrative 134
Chapter 36 Chesney Wold 136
Chapter 39 Attorney and Client 139
Chapter 47 Jo's Will 141
Chapter 59 Esther's Narrative 143
Chapter 64 Esther's Narrative 146
Chapter 65 Beginning the World 147
Chapter 67 The Close of Esther's Narrative 149
4 Further Reading 153
Recommended Editions of Bleak House 155
Book-length Studies of Dickens 155
Collected Essays on Bleak House 157
Articles on Bleak House 157
Index 159
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