Other Dickens: Pickwick to Chuzzlewit

Overview

In the first half of his career, Dickens wrote some of the most important novels of the nineteenth century, including The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and Martin Chuzzlewit. They are exorbitant and transgressive books, with an inventive comic force unprecedented in the English novel. In this, the first full-length study for thirty years, John Bowen blends contemporary theory and historical awareness to argue that they are radical in both political and fictional terms. With a tactful use of contemporary critical...

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Overview

In the first half of his career, Dickens wrote some of the most important novels of the nineteenth century, including The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and Martin Chuzzlewit. They are exorbitant and transgressive books, with an inventive comic force unprecedented in the English novel. In this, the first full-length study for thirty years, John Bowen blends contemporary theory and historical awareness to argue that they are radical in both political and fictional terms. With a tactful use of contemporary critical theory, he shows how their often uncanny power disturbs and transforms our ways of understanding Dickens's work and his place in the history of the novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Johnathan Keates
Bowen rightly emphasizes the social volatility of the early Victorian years, but needs more space for his opening perspective than this comparatively short study seems to allow. It is in the chapters devoted to individual novels that the notion of a young Dickens engaged with his times, as something more serious than a crude muddle of types and tableaux, strikes us most convincingly...Bowen's opening chapter, what is more, too obviously reproduces, in its moments of dawdling and impressionism, those very features of Dicken&39;s opening phrase for which he has been condemned. Such a passionate assumption of its subject's manner is nevertheless vindicated in this book by what follows. Seldom has Boz looked more frighteningly coherent.
The (London) Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199261406
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. John Bowen is Reader in English at the University of Keele.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Arbitrary and Despotic Characters 5
2 Adjestin' the Differences: Pickwick Papers 44
3 Nancy's Truth: Oliver Twist and the 'Stray Chapters' 82
4 Performing Business, Training Ghosts: Nicholas Nickleby 107
5 Nell's Crypt: The Old Curiosity Shop and Master Humphrey's Clock 132
6 History's Grip: Barnaby Rudge 157
7 The Genealogy of Monsters: Martin Chuzzlewit 183
Index 221
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