Abstract

Abstract:

This essay investigates the ways in which changing communication networks in the middle of the nineteenth century forced people to entrust their most closely guarded secrets to unknown intermediaries as a matter of course. This shift introduces a number of pressing concerns that stay with us today, particularly a growing sense of the need for encryption. Looking at Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit, this essay also argues that this changing understanding of how people are connected requires a different way of visualizing character networks in novels. Instead of focusing only on named characters in private spaces, in Little Dorrit Dickens consistently imagines characters connected through an unknown, and unknowable, public.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2052
Print ISSN
0042-5222
Pages
pp. 288-313
Launched on MUSE
2017-06-16
Open Access
No
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