Dickens' Novels as Poetry: Allegory and Literature of the City

Dickens' Novels as Poetry: Allegory and Literature of the City

by Jeremy Tambling

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Overview

Focusing on the language, style, and poetry of Dickens’ novels, this study breaks new ground in reading Dickens’ novels as a unique form of poetry. Dickens’ writing disallows the statement of single unambiguous truths and shows unconscious processes burrowing within language, disrupting received ideas and modes of living. Arguing that Dickens, within nineteenth-century modernity, sees language as always double, Tambling draws on a wide range of Victorian texts and current critical theory to explore Dickens’ interest in literature and popular song, and what happens in jokes, in caricature, in word-play and punning, and in naming. Working from Dickens’ earliest writings to the latest, deftly combining theory with close analysis of texts, the book examines Dickens’ key novels, such as Pickwick Papers, Martin Chuzzlewit, Dombey and Son, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend. It considers Dickens as constructing an urban poetry, alert to language coming from sources beyond the individual, and relating that to the dream-life of characters, who both can and cannot awake to fuller, different consciousness. Drawing on Walter Benjamin, Lacan, and Derrida, Tambling shows how Dickens writes a new and comic poetry of the city, and that the language constitutes an unconscious and secret autobiography. This volume takes Dickens scholarship in exciting new directions and will be of interest to all readers of nineteenth-century literary and cultural studies, and more widely, to all readers of literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781317612889
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 11/13/2014
Series: Routledge Studies in Nineteenth Century Literature
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 238
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jeremy Tambling is a writer and critic working on English and European literature and critical theory. He is formerly Professor of Literature at Manchester University, UK and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Urban Writing: Writing Poetry  Part I: Writing Styles: Romantic and Baroque  I. Dickens’ Reading  II. Dickens, Hogarth, and Caricature  III. The Old Curiosity Shop  Part II: Poetry and the City  I. Pickwick Papers: Jingle and Weller  II. ‘Bragian Words’: Martin Chuzzlewit  III. Stopping Growing: Dombey and Son  Part III: Opening Words  I. Naming: Dombey and Son to Bleak House  II. ‘The Insistence of the Letter’: Bleak House  III. Staring in Little Dorrit  IV. Novels of the 1860s  Part IV: Dickens and the Poetry of Dreams  I. The Mask  II. The ‘Waking Dream’: Oliver Twist  III. ‘The Tempest’ in David Copperfield  IV. ‘Scattered Consciousness’: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

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