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Dickens and the Politics of the Family

Dickens and the Politics of the Family
Author: Catherine Waters
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Total Pages: 247
Release: 1997-07-03
Genre: Literary Criticism
ISBN: 0521573556

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The fictional representation of the family has long been regarded as a Dickensian speciality. But while nineteenth-century reviewers praised Dickens as the pre-eminent novelist of the family, any close examination of his novels reveals a remarkable disjunction between his image as the quintessential celebrant of the hearth, and his interest in fractured families. Catherine Waters offers an explanation of this discrepancy through an examination of Dickens's representation of the family in relation to nineteenth-century constructions of class and gender. Drawing upon feminist and new historicist methodologies, and focusing upon the normalising function of middle-class domestic ideology, Waters concludes that Dickens's novels record a shift in notions of the family away from an earlier stress upon the importance of lineage and blood towards a new ideal of domesticity assumed to be the natural form of the family.

Queer Dickens

Queer Dickens
Author: Holly Furneaux
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Total Pages: 304
Release: 2009-12-10
Genre: Literary Criticism
ISBN: 0191609927

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This book offers a radically new reading of Dickens and his major works. It demonstrates that, rather than representing a largely conventional, conservative view of sexuality and gender, he presents a distinctly queer corpus, everywhere fascinated by the diversity of gender roles, the expandability of notions of the family, and the complex multiplicity of sexual desire. The book examines the long overlooked figures of bachelor fathers, maritally resistant men, and male nurses. It explores Dickens's attention to a longing, not to reproduce, but to nurture, his interest in healing touch, and his articulation, over the course of his career, of homoerotic desire. Holly Furneaux places Dickens's writing in a broad literary and social context, alongside authors including Bulwer-Lytton, Tennyson, Braddon, Collins, and Whitman, to make a case for Dickens's central position in queer literary history. Examining novels, poetry, life-writing, journalism, and legal and political debates, Queer Dickens argues that this eminent Victorian can direct us to the ways in which his culture could, and did, comfortably accommodate homoeroticism and families of choice. Further, it contends that Dickens's portrayals of nurturing masculinity and his concern with touch and affect between men challenge what we have been used to thinking about Victorian ideals of maleness. Queer Dickens intervenes in current debates about the Victorians (neither so punitive nor so prudish as we once imagined) and about the methodologies of the histories of the family and of sexuality. It makes the case for a more optimistic, nurturing, and life-affirming trajectory in queer theory.

The Other Dickens

The Other Dickens
Author: Lillian Nayder
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Total Pages: 376
Release: 2012-04-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 0801465141

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Catherine Hogarth, who came from a cultured Scots family, married Charles Dickens in 1836, the same year he began serializing his first novel. Together they traveled widely, entertained frequently, and raised ten children. In 1858, the celebrated writer pressured Catherine to leave their home, unjustly alleging that she was mentally disordered-unfit and unloved as wife and mother. Constructing a plotline nearly as powerful as his stories of Scrooge and Little Nell, Dickens created the image of his wife as a depressed and uninteresting figure, using two of her three sisters against her, by measuring her presumed weaknesses against their strengths. This self-serving fiction is still widely accepted. In the first comprehensive biography of Catherine Dickens, Lillian Nayder debunks this tale in retelling it, wresting away from the famous novelist the power to shape his wife's story. Nayder demonstrates that the Dickenses' marriage was long a happy one; more important, she shows that the figure we know only as "Mrs. Charles Dickens" was also a daughter, sister, and friend, a loving mother and grandmother, a capable household manager, and an intelligent person whose company was valued and sought by a wide circle of women and men. Making use of the Dickenses' banking records and legal papers as well as their correspondence with friends and family members, Nayder challenges the long-standing view of Catherine Dickens and offers unparalleled insights into the relations among the four Hogarth sisters, reclaiming those cherished by the famous novelist as Catherine's own and illuminating her special bond with her youngest sister, Helen, her staunchest ally during the marital breakdown. Drawing on little-known, unpublished material and forcing Catherine's husband from center stage, The Other Dickens revolutionizes our perception of the Dickens family dynamic, illuminates the legal and emotional ambiguities of Catherine's position as a "single" wife, and deepens our understanding of what it meant to be a woman in the Victorian age.

Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London

Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London
Author: Andrea Warren
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Total Pages: 165
Release: 2011
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
ISBN: 0547395744

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The motivations behind Dickens' novels and the poverty-stricken world of 19th century London.

The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens

The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens
Author: Robert L. Patten
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Total Pages: 848
Release: 2018-09-13
Genre: Literary Collections
ISBN: 0191061115

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The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens is a comprehensive and up-to-date collection on Dickens's life and works. It includes original chapters on all of Dickens's writing and new considerations of his contexts, from the social, political, and economic to the scientific, commercial, and religious. The contributions speak in new ways about his depictions of families, environmental degradation, and improvements of the industrial age, as well as the law, charity, and communications. His treatment of gender, his mastery of prose in all its varieties and genres, and his range of affects and dramatization all come under stimulating reconsideration. His understanding of British history, of empire and colonization, of his own nation and foreign ones, and of selfhood and otherness, like all the other topics, is explained in terms easy to comprehend and profoundly relevant to global modernity.

Dickens and Prince

Dickens and Prince
Author: Nick Hornby
Publisher: Penguin
Total Pages: 193
Release: 2022-11-15
Genre: Art
ISBN: 0593541839

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“An ardent fan letter from Hornby that makes you want to re-read Great Expectations while listening to Sign o’ the Times.” —Vogue "This pairing -- two magnificent creatives, centuries and genres apart -- makes stunning sense in the hands of their wisest, wittiest fan." -- People From the bestselling author of Just Like You, High Fidelity, and Fever Pitch, a short, warm, and entertaining book about art, creativity, and the unlikely similarities between Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and modern American rock star Prince Every so often, a pairing comes along that seems completely unlikely—until it’s not. Peanut butter and jelly, Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un, ducks and puppies, and now: Dickens and Prince. Equipped with a fan’s admiration and his trademark humor and wit, Nick Hornby invites us into his latest obsession: the cosmic link between two unlikely artists, geniuses in their own rights, spanning race, class, and centuries—each of whom electrified their different disciplines and whose legacy resounded far beyond their own time. When Prince’s 1987 record Sign o’ the Times was rereleased in 2020, the iconic album now came with dozens of songs that weren’t on the original— Prince was endlessly prolific, recording 102 songs in 1986 alone. In awe, Hornby began to wonder, Who else ever produced this much? Who else ever worked that way? He soon found his answer in Victorian novelist and social critic Charles Dickens, who died more than a hundred years before Prince began making music. Examining the two artists’ personal tragedies, social statuses, boundless productivity, and other parallels, both humorous and haunting, Hornby shows how these two unlikely men from different centuries “lit up the world.” In the process, he creates a lively, stimulating rumination on the creativity, flamboyance, discipline, and soul it takes to produce great art.

Themes in Dickens

Themes in Dickens
Author: Peter J. Ponzio
Publisher: McFarland
Total Pages: 196
Release: 2018-03-04
Genre: Literary Criticism
ISBN: 1476631352

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The Victorian age is often portrayed as an era of repressive social mores. Yet this simplified view ignores the context of Great Britain's profound shift, through rapid industrialization, from rural to metropolitan life during this time. Throughout his career, Charles Dickens addressed the numerous changes occurring in Victorian society. His portrayals of organized religion, class distinction, worker's rights, prison reform and rampant poverty resonated with readers experiencing social upheaval. Focusing on his novels, nonfiction writing, speeches and personal correspondence, this book explores Dickens's use of these themes as both literary devices and as a means to effect social progress.

Becoming Dickens

Becoming Dickens
Author: Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Total Pages: 400
Release: 2013
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 0674072235

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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.

Dickens and the Business of Death

Dickens and the Business of Death
Author: Claire Wood
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Total Pages: 243
Release: 2015-03-05
Genre: Literary Criticism
ISBN: 1316241211

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Charles Dickens is famous for his deathbed scenes, but these have rarely been examined within the context of his ambivalence towards the Victorian commodification of death. Dickens repeatedly criticised ostentatious funeral and mourning customs, and asserted the harmful consequences of treating the corpse as an object of speculation rather than sympathy. At the same time, he was fascinated by those who made a living from death and recognised that his authorial profits implicated him in the same trade. This book explores how Dickens turned mortality into the stuff of life and art as he navigated a thriving culture of death-based consumption. It surveys the diverse ways in which death became a business, from body-snatching, undertaking, and joint-stock cemetery companies, to the telling and selling of stories. This broad study offers fresh perspectives on death in The Old Curiosity Shop and Our Mutual Friend, and discusses lesser-known works and textual illustrations.