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