Although enjoyed my many as a masterpiece of Dickens’ comic writing, Martin Chuzzlewit has long been underrated by professional critics. This volume redresses the balance by devoting its attention to a full critical discussion of the novel and by including a full survey of the critical positions held in the past.
As well as discussing the themes of selfishness and hypocrisy, the history of the text is also explored, as is the complex relationship between Dickens and the United States which played a great part in the development of the novel and exerted considerable influence on it early reception.
1. Dickens’ Pre-Chuzzlewit Days 2. The Text and Its Variations 3. Starting the Machinery (Chapters I-XIV) 4. The American Episodes 5. Mrs Gamp and Mrs Harris 6. Pecksniffery 7. Crime and Punishment 8. The "Stock of the Soup" Thickens 9. The Salt of Pinch 10. The Evolution of Dickens’ with Martin Chuzzlewit 11. External and Additional Material 12. Martin Chuzzlewit and its Readers: Purpose and Achievement