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Title: Structural patterns in some of Dickens's novels, with a special study of Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Martin Chuzzlewit, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations
Author: Morgan, Eleanor Frances
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1981
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Examination of Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Martin Chuzzlewit, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations, all organized around central heroes, allows the critic to look for operative structural principles in works that appear similar. The similarity is on the surface only. Detailed analysis leads to the conclusion that the structure of each is determined by the underlying mode in which it is written. Oliver Twist is a kind of allegory, Nicholas Nickleby, a melodrama, Martin Chuzzlewit, a satire, David Copperfield, a Bildungsroman, and Great Expectations, a Bildungsroman told through a fairy tale. When the novels are read with the underlying mode in mind, many critical anomalies are seen to stem from requirements of that particular mode. Choice of mode appears to be determined by the author's narrative stance toward his material; this can be determined, as a rule, from prefaces, letters, and biographical events at the time of writing. The method of analysis is of central importance, as is the discovery of an adequate typology to identify salient characteristics of each mode. In addition to offering fresh insights into the novels themselves, the results of the approach through mode suggest that many novels might profitably be examined in this way. Recognition, for instance, that certain roles, such as those of the knave and the fool in satire or of the magic donor in the fairy tale, are essential to their respective modes has interesting implications for the study of characterization. This approach has not been used before, though certain of the underlying modes have occasionally been mentioned by critics. There have also been casual attributions of mode which do not stand up under systematic examination and are misleading. The underlying mode affects so many aspects of a novel's form that this approach would seem to provide a useful tool for novel criticism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Literature