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By Donald Hawes

Charles Dickens is absolutely a literary big. the main broadly learn writer of his personal new release, his works stay enormously renowned and significant this present day. usually obvious because the fundamental Victorian novelist, his texts show maybe greater than any others the force for wealth and development and the social contrasts that characterized the Victorian period. His works are largely studied during the global either as literary masterpieces and as vintage examples of the 19th century novel. Combining a biographical technique with shut studying of the novels, Donald Hawes bargains an illuminating portrait of Dickens as a author and perception into his existence and instances. This publication will offer a brief, vigorous yet refined advent to Dickens's paintings and the private and social context within which it was once written.

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Extra resources for Charles Dickens (Writers Lives)

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Many commentators have noted the presence in his fiction of prisons, perhaps because he never forgot his father s plight or, more significantly, his own anguish at the time. Sketches by Boz includes a grim account of 'A Visit to Newgate' and there are prison scenes in many of his novels from Pickwick Papers onwards. Mr Pickwick, sent to the Fleet Prison because he refuses to pay the £750 fine in the Bardell v. Pickwick case, is appalled and fascinated by seeing the many classes of people who have been locked up: 'from the labouring-man in his fustian jacket, to the broken-down spendthrift in his shawl dressing-gown, most appropriately out at elbows; but there was the same air about them all - a listless jail-bird careless swagger, a vagabondish who's-afraid sort of bearing, which is wholly indescribable in words, but which any man can understand in one moment if he wish, by setting foot in the nearest debtor's prison, and looking at the very first group of people he sees there' (PP, ch.

Nell and her grandfather (who is now physically and mentally enfeebled) make a stealthy escape and wander wherever chance and inclination take them. On their journeys they meet comic, benevolent and malevolent people, including Codlin and Short (travelling Punch and Judy men), Mrs Jarley (the proprietress of a waxwork show) and a kindly schoolmaster. They find eventual refuge in a village where, exhausted and frail, Nell dies. Soon afterwards, her broken-hearted grandfather also dies, while seated on her grave.

Those dust-heaps, huge mounds of refuse and excrement, appear in Our Mutual Friend as sources of wealth. John Harmon's father had made his fortune in buying and selling them and in them could be found valuables and documents (such as the will discovered by Silas Wegg). The symbolism is obvious: wealth can be a dirty business. But happiness can thrive in these unpromising urban settings. One of the Sketches by Boz is called 'London Recreations' and (as we have seen) he writes about Greenwich Fair, Astley's equestrian shows and theatres as well as grimmer places like pawnshops and Newgate Prison.

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