Imagos, dolls, and other gazing effigies in Bleak House
in Spectral Dickens
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Chapter 4 develops the concept of “moor eeffocish things.” G. K. Chesterton coins this term—which derives from an uncanny moment in Dickens’s autobiographical fragments (where he reads “Coffee Room” in reverse as “Moor Eeffoc”)—to describe the many eerily animated objects in Dickens’s universe. Accordingly this chapter analyzes animated objects as effigies, especially masks and dolls, in the text and illustrations of Bleak House. Two effigies in Bleak House that get particular attention in this chapter are Esther’s doll and Roman Allegory painted on Tulkinghorn’s ceiling. Throughout the novel Bleak House, characters such as Esther, Bucket, Tulkinghorn, Smallweed, and Krook, whose representations all incorporate the ontological otherness of objects like dolls, doubles, reflections, painted images, and masks, appear alternately as portraits of human subjects or as effigies of desubjectifying social forces

Spectral Dickens

The uncanny forms of novelistic characterization

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