The Pleasures of Memory
Learning to Read with Charles Dickens
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Opening her first collection of critical essays on English literature and culture, Virginia Woolf invokes an image of the common reader as her counterpart...
Introduction: Dickens and the Pleasures of Memory
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In the decades following Charles Dickens’s sudden death on June 9, 1870, at the age of fifty-eight, Victorian critics and writers were divided in their judgments of his work. Eulogizing Dickens at Westminster Abbey on June 19, Benjamin...
1. Memory’s Bonds: Associationism and the Freedom of Thought
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During one of his solitary walks to the Meagles family cottage at Twickenham after Pet Meagles’s marriage to Henry Gowan, Arthur Clennam learns that Mrs. Tickit, the housekeeper who presides over the cottage in the owners’ absence...
2. Dickens’s Originality: Serial Fiction, Celebrity, and The Pickwick Papers
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In 1848, Charles Dickens performed in Glasgow with the Amateurs, a theater troupe that included Mark Lemon, John Forster, Henry Mayhew, and Douglas Jerrold. Outside the hotel where the troupe was staying, a crowd had gathered...
3. The Pleasures of Memory, Part I: Curiosity as Didacticism in The Old Curiosity Shop
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In the previous two chapters, I have been investigating both how the associationist pleasures of memory imply a regulated freedom of thought activated and implemented in reading and how the figure of Dickens as celebrity author could channel...
4. The Pleasures of Memory, Part II: Epitaphic Reading and Cultural Memory
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The previous chapter’s account of the remediation of didactic literature and patterning of reception in The Old Curiosity Shop raises the question whether, for Dickens’s contemporaries, the social reform effects of his writings were...
5. Learning by Heart in Our Mutual Friend
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Dickens’s final completed novel, Our Mutual Friend (1864–65), could be described as a story about the repercussions of learning to read. I want to distinguish the novel’s specific interest the experience of literacy from political arguments...
6. Dickens’s Laughter: School Reading and Democratic Literature, 1870–1940
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Through his lifetime, Dickens’s celebrity authorship projected an image of popular democratic literature as a means for readers to generate and share lasting social and aesthetic values that could cut across other social divisions. By featuring...
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By paying attention to associationist theories of reception in Victorian literary criticism and pedagogical theory, my study has specified how the reading lessons provided by Dickens’s serials could have contributed to the novel’s central role...
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Page Count: 448
Publication Year: 2011