Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A commentary on Dickens's Our Mutual Friend
Author: Cotsell, M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1442 8890
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1977
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis attempts a full commentary on Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend: it embarks upon 'the immense task of explanatory annotation' of Dickens's novels, referred to by the general editors of the New Clarendon Dickens (John Butt and Kathleen Tillotson). It elucidates verbal obscurities and social allusions which were doubtless intelligible to the nineteenth-century reader, but which have lost their meaning to a later age. These include current events, topography, details of clothing, furniture, food, modes of transportation, and so on. Identifications are provided for quotations from plays, poems, comic songs; and glosses for the use of proverbs, phrases from the Bible and Prayer Book, puns, jargon, substandard English, stylistic parodies, and ephemeral modes of expression. Particular stylistic influences are identified and aspects of the plot, characters, and incidents which derive from the writings of others or from Dickens's own experiences are indicated. The artistic structure of the novel is explored by drawing attention to inter-connexions among the parts and to the devices which can be attributed to Dickens's awareness of the conditions of serial publication. These show Dickens's careful techniques of anticipation, repetition of structure and phrase, ironic contrast, understatement and significant imagery. When it helps to reveal the processes of composition, information from Dickens's letters, from his work plans and other preliminary materials, and from the comments of his associates, is recorded in the commentary, together with substantive alterations in the manuscript. Previous explanatory and critical work on the novel, when it has been found useful, has been absorbed into the commentary, with acknowledgement. An effort has been made to be comprehensive, even at the risk of seeming trivial or superfluous, for two reasons. First, the 'world' of Dickens is passing rapidly away, and response to a passage in a novel becomes keener by our having recalled for us a precise context or piece of information. Secondly, Dickens is widely read in the English-speaking world outside England, and for such readers many matters which are still not unfamiliar in Britain need elucidation. The thesis, therefore, attempts to do all the work of which an 'ideal reader' might be capable, in the belief that this work is essential to a thorough understanding of the novel and of Dickens's artistry.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available