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Title: Dickens : faith and his early fiction
Author: Hooper, Keith William James
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 4454
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis, focusing on Dickens' early work ('Our Parish'to The Old Curiosity Shop), explorers the nature and fictional expression of the author's faith and the historical ecclesiastical elements of his writing. Dickens passionately believed that the Church was failing in its Christian responsibility to the poor. Contrary to contemporary religious thought, he neither accepted that the appalling depravation endured by the poor esulted from their personal sin, or that the imperative of spiritual redemption negated the Church's responsibility to ease their physical distress. He also realised that among his predominately London-based middle-class readership there was genuine ignorance of the reality of the suffering endured by the poor. In his early fiction Dickens used a two stage approach to communicate his personal beliefs about the poor. The first, adopted in 'Our Parish' and the first seven chapters of Oliver Twist, involved the graphic description of the suffering endured by the poor and the exposure of the inadequacies of the parochial system upon which they depended. Next, Dickens introduces his readers to a series of characters who embody his perception of Christian charity. Mr Pickwick, Mr brownlow and Charles Cheeryble (collectively referred to in this thesis as 'Charitable Angels')are, contrary to parochial officials and those who participate in charitable activity for their own selfish ends, shown to make a difference in the lives of those they assist. Dickens hoped that his readers would be inspired to emulate their actions.
Supervisor: Parejo Vadillo, Ana Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Dickens, Charles ; religion ; Angels