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Title: Mapping the world in 'Household Words' : Charles Dickens, journalism, and nationhood in the 1850s
Author: Clemm, Sabine
ISNI:       0000 0000 7850 7347
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis examines the way in which Charles Dicken's weekly journal Household Words structures the world. It argues that the journal was more than a mere extension of its 'conductor' and, through Household Words and other contemporary publications, addresses the nature of the periodical genre as such. Through a close reading of selected material, it develops a detailed picture of the international and social climate of the period. Chapter 1 discusses the Great Exhibition of 1851 as an event that had some striking generic similarities with the periodical and brings the entire world together under one roof, provoking a large-scale reassessment of both of what it meant to be English and of different degrees of 'foreignness'. These are traced through the remainder of my thesis. Chapter 2 considers Household Words' ideas on Englishness and the various other groups that make up the United Kingdom. It argues that Household Words is frequently aware of the arbitrariness of national characteristics and its own struggle to define these. Yet even the most astute writers never quite abandon the assumption that an essential Englishness does exist. Chapter 3 focuses on Ireland. For all its social interests Englishness does exist. Chapter 3 focuses on Ireland. For all its social interests and concerns, Household Words often treats Ireland (then a full part of the United Kingdom) like a colony, offering various solutions to the 'Irish difficulty'. Chapter 4 turns to Europe, arguing that Household Words has a definite sense of 'Europeanness'. While the climate in Britain varied widely throughout the period and contemporary media alternatively saw Britain as part of Europe or as isolated form 'the continent', Household Words maintains a (comparatively) stable and friendly stance towards Europe. Chapter 5, finally, considers Household Words' treatment of India as Britain's most prized colony. It shows how contributions such as John Lang's serial 'Wanderings in India' retrospectively rationalised the so-called 'Indian Mutiny'. In conclusion, I consider Household Words' treatment of the very edge of humanity and argue that the journal both disavows and depends on 'savages' in its thinking on 'Englishness'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available