Abstract

Abstract:

David Copperfield is a novel that has been heavily normalized by critics to support generalizations about the progressivism of Victorian fiction. Without contending that the major strand in the narrative seeks to establish David's story as that of an emerging modern self, putting both personal and more broadly historical subjugations definitively in the past, this essay tries to achieve both a better understanding of the terms in which the novel prosecutes its major case and a due measure of attentiveness to the "minority report" in the novel, the body of evidence contesting or complicating the progressivist narrative. It asks how much weight we should attach to a body of evidence not preponderant but memorable and radically critical of the preponderant one. The essay suggests that attentiveness to the counternarrative should make the door to the past seem much less definitively locked and that other temporalities than the unidirectional progressivist one remain active in the pages of David Copperfield.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 223-243
Launched on MUSE
2019-03-06
Open Access
No
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