Dickens and Modernity by Juliet John

By Juliet John

The size of the 2012 bicentenary celebrations of Dickens's start is testimony to his prestige as some of the most globally renowned literary authors the realm has ever noticeable. but Dickens has additionally turn into linked within the public mind's eye with a selected model of the Victorian previous and with respectability. His persisted cultural prominence and the ""brand recognition"" accomplished via his photo and pictures recommend that his imaginative and prescient reaches out past the Victorianperiod. but what's the dating among Dickens and the trendy global? Do his works provide a consoling model of the prior or are they attuned to that nation of uncertainty and instability we go along with the nebulous yet resonant thought of modernity? This quantity positions Dickens as either a literary and a cultural icon with a fancy courting to the cultural panorama in his personal interval and because. It seeks to illustrate that oppositions that have pervaded ways to Dickens - Victorian vs glossy, artist vs entertainer, tradition vs trade - are fake, through exploring the range and multiplicity of Dickens's textual and extra-textual lives. A particularly commissioned Afterword through Florian Schweizer, Director of the Dickens 2012 celebrations, bargains a desirable perception into the shaping of this year-long public programme of commemoration of Dickens. just like the quantity as a complete, it asks us toconsider the character of our reference to ""this quintessentially Victorian writer"" and what it truly is approximately Dickens that also appeals to humans around the globe. Professor Juliet John holds the Hildred Carlile Chair of English Literature, Royal Holloway, college of London. members: Jay Clayton, Holly Furneaux, John Drew, Michaela Mahlberg, Juliet John, Michael Hollington, Joss Marsh, Carrie Sickmann, Kim Edwardes Keates, Dominic Rainsford, Florian Schweizer

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They hung there, in all weathers: with the wind and rain driving in upon them: facing only the outsides of all those houses; never getting any nearer to the blazing fires that gleamed and shone upon the windows, or came puffing out of the chimney tops; and incapable of participation in any of the good things that were constantly being handed, through the street doors and the area railings, to prodigious cooks. (155) 4 See Slater (1970: 526). ] 164). indd 37 16/08/2012 15:17:04 26 jay clayton We recognise the distinctive Dickens note in a passage such as this one – the poor and overlooked denizen of the streets, gazing at the warmth and food and finery that he will never enjoy, yet not repining.

As we approach the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth, the climate of Dickens studies has rather altered from that of 1970, the centenary of his death, when Pamela Hansford Johnson wrote: ‘It is due, perhaps in part, to Dickens that so many people believe that the Victorians were totally ignorant about the by-ways of sexual behaviour. The image of the “family” audience became so strong with him that, as he grew older, he failed more and more to use even those liberties that Thackeray and Trollope found available’ (173).

The crackle of static is like the noise of time itself. Dickens, who was interested in sound technology, would have been one of the first in line to bury his head in a speaking trumpet and bellow, ‘I never will desert Mr Micawber’. 1 Dickens died seven years before the invention of the phonograph, and the sound of his speech has been lost for ever. Visual recordings of Dickens abound. The novelist lived to see the development of several different forms of photography, and there are memorable drawings, paintings and photographs of the author.

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