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Title: Dickens and the city.
Author: Schwarzbach, Fredric Sol.
ISNI:       0000 0000 2459 5900
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 1977
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This thesis studies Dickens' changing response to the city over his writing career, from the early 1830s to 1870. By examining certain events in his life, and by utilising his journalism, letters and minor writings, and. also by exploring some of the changes in the city and attitudes toward. it during the nineteenth century, a broad pattern of development has been discerned in the novels. Dickens' literary career began with the fictional discovery of the city in Sketches by Boz, which helped inaugurate a radically new mode of urban literature. His early novels, from Pickwick Papers to The Old. Curiosity Shop, are dominated by an urge to escape the city, and to find peace in a semi-fictional pastoral retreat. Beginning with Barnaby Budge, and with more explicitness in Martin Chuzzlewit, the early middle novels return to the city, and embrace it as the quintessentiafly modern form of social life. Dickens' later middle novels, Bleak House and Hard Times, again reject the city, but do so with a much more sophisticated social and political critique, as an environment which has through governmental and societal inaction become overwhelmed by the pressing problems of rapid change. Little Dorrit is Dickens' most despairing novel, in which London becomes the pbysical correlative of Dickens' crisis of will in the late l850s. A Tale of Two Cities, The Uncommercial Traveller, and Great Expectations represent a fictional and literal search for a mature accommodation with London and city life, a search which freed Dickens to write his most complex and profound endorsement of the city in Our Mutual Friend. Dickens' last writings, including the unfinished Edwin Drood, point toward a new attitude toward the city, a consideration of which increases our understanding of the nature of Dickens' unique accomplishment as a city writer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available