Dickens's relationship to cities is part of his modernity and his enduring fascination. How he thought about, grasped and conceptualised the rapidly expanding and anonymous urban scene are all fascinating aspects of a critical debate which, starting virtually from Dickens's own time, has become more and more active and questioning of the significance of that new thing, the unknown and unknowable, city. Although Dickens was influenced by several European and American cities, the most significant city for Dickens was London, the city he knew as a boy in the 1820s and which developed in his lifetime to become the finance and imperial capital of the nineteenth-century. His sense of London as monumental and fashionable, modern and anachronistic, has generated a large number of writings and critical approaches: Marxist, sociological, psychoanalytic and deconstructive. Dickens looks at the city from several aspects: as a place bringing together poverty and riches; as the place of the new and of chance and coincidence, and of secret lives exposed by the special figure of the detective. Another crucial area of study is the relationship of the city to women, and women's place in the city, as well as the way Dickens's London matches up with other visual representations. This anthology of criticism surveys the field and is a major contribution to the study of cities, city culture, modernity and Dickens. It brings together key previously published articles and essays and features a comprehensive bibliography of work which scholars can continue to explore.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; The Dickens world: a view from Todgers's, Dorothy Van Ghent; Dickens: realism, subjunctive and indicative, Donald Fanger; Dickens's slum satire in Bleak House, Trevor Blount; The strategy and theme of urban observation in Bleak House, Alan R. Burke; Introduction to Dombey and Son, Raymond Williams; The city and the river: Dickens's symbolic landscape, Avrom Fleishman; Dickens and London, Philip Collins; Little Dorrit in Italy, William Burgan; City life and the novel: Hugo, Ainsworth, Dickens, Richard Maxwell; Dickens the flÃ¢neur, Michael Hollington; Bleak House and Victorian art and illustration: Charles Dickens's visual narrative style, Donald H. Ericksen; Dickens, Ruskin and the city: parallels or influence?, Charles Swann; Dickens's sublime artifact, Ronald R. Thomas; The grotesque and urban chaos in Bleak House, Kay Hetherly Wright; London, Dickens, and the theatre of homelessness, Murray Baumgarten; Dickens, 'Household Words', and the Paris boulevards (parts I and II), Michael Hollington; Dickensian architextures or, the city and the ineffable, Julian Wolfreys; The Uncommercial Traveller and the later Dickens, Robin Gilmour; Bleak House, Vanity Fair, and the making of an urban aesthetic, Sambudha Sen; City spaces: Martin Chuzzlewit, Jeremy Tambling; 'Turn again, Dick Whittington!': Dickens, Wordsworth, and the boundaries of the city, Patrick Parrinder; Touring the metropolis: the shifting subjects of Dickens's London sketches, David Seed; An Italian dream and a castle in the air: the significance of Venice in Little Dorrit, Peter Orford; Hogarth, Egan, Dickens and the making of an urban aesthetic, Sambudha Sen; A more expansive reach: the geography of the Thames in Our Mutual Friend, Michelle Allen; Dickens: intimations of apocalypse, Robert Alter; Name index.
Jeremy Tambling is Professor of Literature, University of Manchester, UK.
’...an outstanding contribution to the Ashgate Library of Essays on Charles Dickens series' Dickens Quarterly