Dickens and Popular Entertainment: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Dickens and Popular Entertainment

1st Edition

By Paul Schlicke


300 pages

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Paperback: 9781138649330
pub: 2017-12-12
Hardback: 9781138649293
pub: 2016-07-19
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pub: 2016-07-28
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First published in 1985. Dickens was a vigorous champion of the right of all men and women to carefree amusements and dedicated himself to the creation of imaginative pleasure. This book represents the first extended study of this vital aspect of Dickens’ life and work, exploring how he channelled his love of entertainment into his artistry. This study offers a challenging reassessment of Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop and Hard Times. It shows the importance of entertainment to Dickens’ journalism and presents an illuminating perspective on the public readings which dominated the last twelve years of his life. This book will be of interest to students of literature.


Dickens and Popular Entertainment is a classic text in Dickens criticism. Meticulously researched, it is a work of trail-blazing scholarship. Dickens’s relationship with popular entertainment is so central to an understanding of his works and worldview that there is now a whole sub-field of Dickens studies devoted to it. But Schlicke’s was the first to tackle this subject in depth and head on. It is a testimony to the quality of its scholarship that it remains a major work of Dickens criticism and has been since its publication. Always a staple feature on Dickens bibliographies across the globe, Dickens and Popular Entertainment has become part of the canon of enduring Dickens criticism.

Juliet John

Hildred Carlile Chair of English Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London

Table of Contents

Preface; List of Illustrations; References and Abbreviations; Chapter 1 Introduction: Dickens and the Changing Patterns of Popular Entertainment Chapter 2 Popular Entertainment and Childhood Chapter 3 Nicholas Nickleby The Novel as Popular Entertainment Chapter 4 The Old Curiosity Shop The Assessment of Popular Entertainment Chapter 5 Hard Times The Necessity of Popular Entertainment Chapter 6 Popular Entertainment in Dickens’s Journalism Chapter 7 Dickens’s Public Readings: the Abiding Commitment; Notes; Select Bibliography; Index

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: The Nineteenth-Century Novel

This set of 42 volumes, originally published between 1965 and 2009, are authored by renowned international scholars in the field of nineteenth century literature. They explore a variety of authors such as Dickens, Hardy, Brontë, Austen, Gaskell, Zola, Meredith, Eliot, Gissing, Hawthorne, James and Wharton. The titles also examine a wide range of themes including gender, class, religion, politics, philosophy and music.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
DRAMA / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture