’s] ghost, its
alienated past, just as she is the embodiment of the absent Bleak
The point is that the ghost story is an allegory, an idea which
will be pursued in this chapter. Whilst the principal focus here is on
money, and more specifically allegories about money, it is also
important to acknowledge that Dickens’s major contribution to the
development of the ghost
So far this study of death has
argued that death fails to signify in any explicitly Gothic way. Death
is either not the end or is turned into a subject for scientific
enquiry. The work of Charles Dickens, however, demonstrates the presence
of an emerging Gothic vernacular, one centred on a metaphysics of death,
which progresses the history mapped so far in this study. Dickens
In the early gothic literature of the eighteenth century danger lurked in the darkness beneath the pointed arches of gothic buildings. During the nineteenth century, there was a progressive, although never complete, dislocation of gothic literary readings from gothic architecture. This article explores a phase in that development through discussion of a series of dark illustrations produced by Hablot Knight Browne to illustrate novels by Charles Dickens. These show the way in which the rounded arches of neo-classical architecture were depicted in the mid-nineteenth century as locales of oppression and obscurity. Such depictions acted, in an age of political and moral reform, to critique the values of the system of power and authority that such architecture represented.
In recent years Dickens‘s use of Gothic has been the focus of some diverse and absorbing critical interpretations. This paper seeks to address in more detail the ways in which Gothic features in Dickens‘s various responses to the law in his work. Scenes of madness, hauntings and murder all feature as ways of punishing transgressive individuals in the form of melodramatic substitutes to state law in OliverTwist and Barnaby Rudge, and the Gothic affects justice in later novels such as LittleDorrit.,As Bleak House illustrates, the Gothic also enhances the horror of the law. Dickens employs the genre in different ways within specific texts, such as ThePickwick Papers. How the diverse uses of Gothic pertain to the law in Dickens‘s fiction are considered in this paper.
At roughly the same time that dentistry became a respected profession, teeth became a
sign of biological origin. In the nineteenth century, long, white, uniform teeth signalled
the threat of degeneracy, a counter narrative to evolution predicated on humanity‘s
decline into a primitive, animalistic state. We can trace this anxiety through depictions
of native people‘s teeth in travel narratives, slave narratives, and accounts of the
auction block. The distinctly menacing mouths of white characters, such as Poe‘s Berenice
and Dickens‘s Carker, draw on the fear of degeneracy— a threat to Western civilisation
that coalesces in depictions of the vampiric mouth.
Sarah Harriet Burney‘s
The Romance of Private Life
Sarah Harriet Burney‘s little-known 1839 novel The Romance of Private Life is a novel
that, in many ways, seems to belong to the 1790s, rather than to the early years of
Victoria‘s reign. Burney constantly draws attention to both her own works deviance from
the Gothic plot, and her reliance on this plot to structure the two stories that comprise
the volume. While The Hermitage is arguably the world s first murder mystery, The
Renunciation represents a process of thinking through the afterlife of the Gothic plot in
a rapidly changing world, anticipating the works of the Brontës and Dickens. The
Renunciation represents a conscious reworking of what Italy had come to mean in the early
Victorian period, reframing Italy as an artistic wonderland where women were given the
means and opportunity to pursue artistic and other independent professional existences. I
argue that Burney‘s story represents an ambitious, critically overlooked attempt to
reframe the literature of the eighteenth century for a new age.
Nineteenth-century England witnessed the birth of capitalist consumerism. This book argues that liberal consumerism managed to steer a course between historical alternatives and helped defuse the heat generated by their clash. It shows how liberal consumerism helped maintain stability in a society that was on the brink of collapse but also what was lost in that victory for both consumers and citizens. The early to mid-Victorian period witnessed a most significant confrontation that pitted competing visions of consumption against one another. It considers the ways in which not only Chartists but also their antagonists in the Anti-Corn Law League, the vanguard of economic liberalism, made sense of hunger and mobilised around consumption. The book discusses the major scandals that rocked the New Poor Law through the late 1830s and 1840s, such as the scandal of the Andover workhouse in 1845, when rumours of cannibalism were widely circulated. An important theme that has been marginalised in recent work on the Chartist movement is the appeal of democratic discourse. The book argues for an intimate connection between popular radicalism and forms of consumer organising in the first half of the nineteenth century. While the early writings of Charles Dickens that brought immediate fame prioritised hunger and scarcity, the writer also revelled in the excesses of middle-class consumerism. The book reconnects the culture and politics of the League and the wider project of free trade, and considers how middle-class charitable initiatives tackled starvation leading to the development of the modern humanitarian campaign.
This book argues that Victorian culture perceived the orphan as a scapegoat - a
promise and a threat, a poison and a cure. It first establishes a discursive
context in which to read the orphan figure as embodying a difference within the
family. To do so, it describes the figure of Heathcliff in Wuthering
Heights against a number of discourses - namely, those of the foundling,
the orphan as foreigner, and the orphan as criminal. The book then looks at the
role of the orphan and popular orphan adventure narratives in policing and
extending empire. It considers Charles Dickens's 'The Perils of
Certain English Prisoners, and Their Treasure in Women, Children, Silver and
Jewels' within the context of both the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and
Dickens's own imperial sympathies. The book also offers the historical
context for the schemes adopted at the time for emigrating orphans. It focuses
on the three main destinations -Bermuda, New South Wales and Canada - in order
to consider the motivations behind the emigrating of orphans and the
contemporary evaluations of it. In this historical context, the book positions
Rose Macaulay's Orphan Island (1924), which in its Utopian framework
poses problems for the both the rationale of the schemes and for current debates
within post-colonial studies. It further looks at the exiling of difference, in
George Eliot's Daniel Deronda and the return of the exiled orphan
from the colonies to the heart of empire, London, in Dickens's The
Mystery of Edwin Drood.
This book provides a reading of both fictional and medical writings concerned with auto-erotic sexuality in the long nineteenth century. It examines the discourse on masturbation in medical works by influential English, Continental and American practitioners such as J. H. Kellogg, E. B. Foote, Havelock Ellis, Krafft-Ebing and R. V. Pierce, as well as a number of anonymously authored texts popular in the period. The book demonstrates the influence and impact of these writings, not only on the underworld literatures of Victorian pornography but also in the creation of well-known characters by authors now regarded as canonical including Dean Farrar, J. S. Le Fanu, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. It is not merely a consideration of the male masturbator however: it presents a study of the largely overlooked literature on female masturbation in both clinical and popular medical works aimed at the female reader, as well as in fiction. The book concludes with a consideration of the way the distinctly Victorian discourse on masturbation has persisted into the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries with particular reference to Willy Russell's tragic-comic novel, The Wrong Boy (2000) and to the construction of ‘Victorian Dad’, a character featured in the adult comic, Viz.
This book addresses a number of concerns that have emerged in recent scholarship on the nineteenth century. It contributes to existing dialogues that consider how the nineteenth century can be thought about and critically rethought through literature and other kinds of textual production. The book offers a theoretical consideration of the concept of the nineteenth century by considering Walter Benjamin's famous work The Arcades Project, focusing on Arnold Bennett's entitled 'The Rising Storm of Life'. It outlines how recent developments in Gothic studies have provided new ways of critically reflecting upon the nineteenth century. The book draws attention to the global scope of Victorian literature, and explores the exchanges which took place between Indian and British cultures. It argues that attending to the fashioning of American texts by British publishers enables people to rethink the emergence of American literature as a material as well as an imaginative phenomenon. The relationship between literature and the European anatomical culture is carried out by exploring nineteenth-century narratives from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the first decades of the nineteenth-century to Charles Dickens's fiction in the 1860s. Historical fiction writers' persistent fascination with the long nineteenth century enacts a simultaneous drawing near to and distancing from the period, the lives of its inhabitants and its cultural icons, aesthetic discourses and canonical works. Adaptive practice in the neo-Victorian novel, applied both to Victorian literary precursors and the period more generally, may be better described as adaptive reuse or, perhaps appropriative reuse.