CHARLES DICKENS: The World of His Novels by J. Hillis Miller

CHARLES DICKENS: The World of His Novels

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a study of the artist's consciousness rather than the artist himself and, in following the progression of his novels, follows the development of Dickens' imagination, his changing vision of things as the real world is translated into this imaginative world. The discussion centers around each book, with sometimes a grouping acting as a bridge to the next publication: Papers, Oliver Twist: Nicholas Nickleby and The Old Curiosity Shop and Barby Rudge: Marlin Chuzzlewit; Dombey and Son; David Copperfield; Bleak House, Hard Times and Little Dorrit and A Tale of Two Cities: Our Mutual Friend; Great Expectations, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, are examined minutely, precisely, for their literal expressions of the pattern that went from Victorian picaresque to the theme of the outcast who searches ""for status and authentic identity"" so that he may ""escape through his own efforts"". Bleak House is here judged to be the ""watershed peak of Dicken's career"" in which the act of will is effected, while Little Dor is accisimed as his finest work along with Our Mutual Friend. This is an exacting dissertion of primary interest to Dickens' scholars rather than to his fonder readers who may feel that, while the operation is successful, the patient dies.

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 1958
Publisher: Harvard University Press