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abstract

The Review of Dickens Studies for 2018 examines introductions, articles, partial book chapters, entire book chapters, books of literary criticism, biographical books, entries in reference books, and entire reference books on Charles Dickens. Acknowledging that so-called dominant fields of study in a given year are due, in part, to the vagaries of publishers' and editors' decisions, this article notes that publications in 2018 were dominated by adaptations, biographies, and studies of Bleak House and Great Expectations. Grouping the wealth of interest in two of the fifteen novels necessitated comparable groupings of publications focused on the other novels, and then on other individual works. After accounting for reference books, the remaining categories for consideration revealed themselves to belong to specialized interests and studies. The finalized sequence of headings are Reference Books, Adaptations, Biographies, Thematic Studies across the Novels, Studies of Individual Novels, Other Writings, and Specialized Interests and Studies, with the subtopics Allusions, Dark Tourism, Darwinian Studies, Dickens's Influence, Emigration, Gender and Sexuality, Global Dickens, Imagery, Language, Light, Literary Criticism—Nineteenth Century, Ruins, Sleep, and Urban History.

keywords

Dickens, literary criticism, Victorian, adaptation, biography

introduction

While different readers will have different interests among the more than 150 following summaries and their corresponding commentaries, the richness within "all things Dickens" should please everyone, save scholars looking for a publication devoted solely to Nicholas Nickleby. Personal [End Page 149] recommendations, beyond anyone's current scholarly interests, include both reference books, as well as "Adaptation from the Temporal to the Spatial: Materialising Dickens's Imaginings" by Joyce Goggin, The Fantastic World of Nineteenth-Century Women's Emotions: Two Literary Portrayals by Laura Otis, Reed Brown's 1841 Journey: America through the Eyes of a Vermont Yankee by Richard H. Allen, and Dickens and Demolition: Literary Afterlives and Mid-Nineteenth-Century Urban Development by Joanna Hofer-Robinson. Regarding categories of studies, Global Dickens and Postcolonial Studies appear to be overlapping with adaptations of Dickens through multimedia manifestations, represented by new voices of creativity and new voices of scholarship. Here's richness, indeed.

reference books

Two reference books, both exceptional, were released in 2018. First to be considered here is Duane DeVries's long anticipated and needed third volume of General Studies of Charles Dickens and His Writings and Collected Editions of His Works: An Annotated Bibliography. Once again, he has produced such a comprehensive and exhaustive volume that, in order to keep its size user-friendly, it has been issued in two sections. The first section is titled General Critical Studies of Dickens's Works. It consists of 1,632 entries. DeVries's preface provides useful information about using the volume, along with commentary on its relationship to the previous volumes. Important publications published after volumes 1 and 2 are included, as well (xvi–xix). His introduction explains the organization of volume 3, while the table of contents, of course, guides users quickly and efficiently. The table of contents is complete for both sections and is included in both sections. With just a little familiarity, the headings on the odd-numbered pages can be used to navigate the book even more quickly. Part 13 is divided into Critical and Appreciative Studies Published 1836–70 with contemporary commentary published later, 1871–1939 with contemporary commentary published later, and 1940–date; Surveys of Critical and Appreciative Studies; Collections of Critical and Appreciative Studies; and Studies of Dickens Critics and Scholars. DeVries maintains his well-earned reputation for both thoroughness in research and composition of eminently informative and readable annotations, always presented with meticulous cross-references. This can be demonstrated even with the shorter entries, such as one for fellow novelist Anthony Trollope (1815–82):

6872. Trollope, Anthony. In Chapter 15 of The Warden. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1855; reprinted in Charles [End Page 150] Dickens: Critical Assessments. Ed. Michael Hollington (8021), I, 159–61. Satirizes Dickens as "Mr. Popular Sentiment," the author of a novel entitled The Almshouse. Also see Lionel Stevenson's "Dickens and the Origin of 'The Warden.'" Trollopian, 2 (1947/48), 83–89 (see DeVries, IV, 15A, forthcoming).

The second section is titled Dickens and Aspects of Fiction and consists of 1611 entries. Part 14 is divided into Craftsmanship in General; Characterization; Scene, Description, Plot, Form, Structural Unity; Style, Point of View, Tone, Language, Linguistics, Speech; Themes, Motifs, Allegory, Allusions, Analogies, Imagery, Metaphors, Symbolism; and Comic Elements, Wit, Humor, Irony, Parody, Satire. The second section contains a set of thorough indices to both sections of volume 3. The indices are categorized by Author (anonymous works); Author (signed works); Subject: Dickens's Works (Individual Works: Fiction); Subject: Dickens's Works (Attributions and Collaborations); Subject: Dickens's Works (Nonfiction); Subject: Dickens's Works (Poetry); Subject: Dickens's Works (Public Readings); Subject: Dickens's Works (Speeches); Subject: Dickens's Works (Theatrical Works); Subject: Dickens's Works (Editions); Subject: Dickens's Works (Collected Editions, Partial Collected Editions, and Selections); Subject: Dickens's Works (Personal Writings); Subject Headings: Charles John Huffam Dickens; Subject Headings: Catherine Hogarth Dickens; Subject Headings: The Dickens Family; and Subject Headings: Other Subjects. DeVries exercises good judgment in determining the length of each annotation, as demonstrated in one about artist Robert Buss (1804–75):

8829. Litvack, Leon. "Dickens's Dream and the Conception of Character." Dickensian, 103 (2007), 5–36. On Robert William Buss's painting, Dickens's Dream, painted shortly before his death in 1875 (and illustrated here) and now hanging in the Charles Dickens Museum, London, and on Buss's relationship with Dickens as, briefly, illustrator for Pickwick Papers. Buss's depiction of Dickens's characters in the painting leads Litvack into a much fuller and valuable discussion of how Dickens created his characters, what various critics have written about the sources and techniques of his character creation, Dickens's theory of and involvement with dreams, the conventional Victorian iconography of depicting an author surrounded by his characters (even if it is "not an accurate designation for the process" by which Dickens created his characters). Heavily illustrated with depictions of authors, principally Dickens, surrounded [End Page 151] by their characters, including, interestingly, Luke Fildes's The Empty Chair, with neither Dickens nor his characters. Litvack concludes with a detailed description of Buss's painting, including identification of all the characters in it, and a discussion of why Buss painted the picture and the scholarship concerning it.

The two sections of the third volume are essential either to one's personal reference library or to one's academically affiliated library.

The second reference book is The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens, edited by Robert L. Patten and others. It begins with a list of its twenty-eight illustrations, identification of its fifty-three contributors/editors, a Dickens timeline, and four generations of the immediate Dickens family tree. The Handbook's forty-nine chapters are grouped within the general categories Personal and Professional Life, The Works (each novel has its own chapter), The Socio-Historical Contexts, The Literary and Cultural Contexts, and Dickens Re-visioned (from 1870 through the present). As only a sampling of the chapters can appear in this survey, both chapters on adaptations have been selected for my section on adaptations, and three diverse yet related chapters are included in my section on biographies. The final selection, the chapter on Bleak House from this volume, is examined in the review of sustained studies on individual novels, as Bleak House was studied most often in 2018 publications.

adaptations

Publications focused on adaptations of Dickens reveal not only a strong interest in this topic but also the wide variety of options available for individual or multimedia studies. A good place to start is Malcolm Andrews's "Dickens and the Serial Flâneur," which provides a thoughtful analysis of how Dickens's decision to adapt his novels to serialization gave his readers multiple options for how they could choose to read or hear the novels, installment by installment. He likens the experience of Dickens's original readers to strolling, observing, and enjoying. Said options included reading quickly or slowly, rereading one or more times as desired, rereading specifically in relationship to the availability of the following installment in order to refresh one's memory before learning what happens next, and the comparable auditory variations when reading aloud to others. He stresses Dickens's awareness of these options and his skill in providing readers with, to use Andrews's words, rich incidental detail and lavish descriptions. [End Page 152]

Publications about adaptation also include two chapters in The Routledge Companion to Adaptation, edited by Dennis Cutchins and others. In the chapter "Adaptations, Culture-texts and the Literary Canon: On the Making of Nineteenth-century 'Classics,'" Lissette Lopez Szwydky argues that the number of nineteenth-century novels adapted for the stage during or soon after publication deserves consideration as an independent factor in the process of literary canonization. She focuses primarily on The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. She concludes that adaptations "largely determine which texts experience a long cultural life and which ones eventually fade from cultural memory," apart from any consideration of artistic and financial success or failure of those initial adaptations (139). In another well-written and interesting chapter titled "Adaptation from the Temporal to the Spatial: Materialising Dickens's Imaginings," Joyce Goggin explores the process of transferring the "inner musings" of both a fiction writer and characters created by the writer to either the reader or an adaptor (314). Using Dickens as the fiction writer, she considers four types of adaptation and the adaptor's further process of transferring those inner musings: illustrations that accompany Dickens's text, magic lantern slides that present scenes from Dickens's text, thought balloons in D. W. Griffith's silent movies, and the use of voice-over in David Lean's 1946 motion picture of Great Expectations.

Daniel Siegel focuses exclusively on D. W. Griffith's silent movie version of The Cricket on the Hearth in "Griffith's Silent Cricket." He credits Albert Smith's 1845 dramatization The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home, performed at the Lyceum Theatre in London, as filmmaker Griffith's primary source for his 1909 motion picture adaptation of Dickens's Christmas book. Siegel argues that "Griffith's film can shed a new light on the visions of Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' and 'The Cricket on the Hearth,'" which does seem to be the case (246).

In "UK Television Adaptations of Dickens," Tony Williams reviews six BBC Television serial adaptations of Dickens's novels, originally aired between November 1958 and November 1969 and now available on DVD. The selected adaptations in order of airing are Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House, Barnaby Rudge, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and Dombey and Son, all filmed in black and white, "which enhances their impact" (57). Williams supplements his critiques with number and length of episodes, additional commentary on selected performers, contemporary assessments from The Dickensian, and a production still from each adaptation. He notes that "Dickensians will find much pleasure" in all six adaptations, which are additionally valuable for examinations of "the history and development of British television" (64). [End Page 153]

Jerod Ra'Del Hollyfield focuses exclusively on the 1998 motion picture of Great Expectations in his chapter titled "Gentlemanly Gazes: Charles Dickens, Alfonso Cuarón and the Transnational Gulf in Great Expectations," in his book Framing Empire: Postcolonial Adaptations of Victorian Literature in Hollywood. He explains how screenplay writer Mitch Glazer and director Alfonso Cuarón intentionally convey the postcolonial appropriation of Mexican culture in order to survey imperialism within a modern setting. The motion picture did poorly at the box office and was panned by critics, but Hollyfield makes a strong case for a reexamination of the film's nuances. He then devotes two chapters to postcolonial films inspired by Dickens's second novel. In "Indie Dickens: Oliver Twist as Global Orphan in Tim Greene's Boy Called Twist," he reveals how Oliver Twist "is fundamentally about the formation of the Victorian imperial ideology that would steer the [British] Empire into an unprecedented period of expansion and conquest" (136). In the same manner, he demonstrates how writer and director Tim Greene's 2004 motion picture Boy Called Twist "serves as an acknowledgement of the global economy's omnipresent cultural influence over formerly colonised nations" and functions "as an intervention into strategies of negotiating a coherent, all-inclusive South African identity that situates the nation's colonial past in conjunction with its future," with no attempt to radicalize Dickens's text (139). He guides the reader through what could seem to be a difficult goal for Greene to achieve cinematically. The chapter "Three-Worlds Theory Chutney: Oliver Twist, Q&A and the Curious Case of Slumdog Millionaire" confidently navigates the multilayered structure of the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, with its partial derivation from Vikas Swarup's 2005 novel Q & A, a work with its own partial derivation from Oliver Twist, all set in the context of postcolonialism and postcolonial studies across three continents.

Luise Wolff pursues a similar study, limited to novels from Australia and New Zealand, in Postcolonial Responses to Charles Dickens: Appropriating Dickens in Contemporary Australian and New Zealand Novels. Her book is a slightly revised version of her thesis, in which she explores the postcolonial significance of five novels whose authors make "more or less explicit" allusions to Dickens (1). The novels are The Bluebird Café: A Novel by Carmel Bird (1990), Jack Maggs: A Novel by Peter Carey (1997), Sixty Lights by Gail Jones (2004), Mister Pip: A Novel by Lloyd Jones (2006), and Wanting: A Novel by Richard Flanagan (2008). The first chapter presents an overview of postcolonial theory, followed by individual chapters on each novel, with the exception of the fifth chapter's joint analysis of The Bluebird Café and Sixty Lights. The concluding chapter presents an overview of two literary commonalities [End Page 154] among the five novels, namely, the themes of dysfunctional families and literacy. Wolff believes that "contemporary writers from Australia and New Zealand appropriate" Dickens partly because Dickens retains a worldwide readership (185), and more importantly because "Dickens appears as the representative of a British heritage which is embraced and rejected at the same time" (186).

Luke McKernan assesses the 2015–16 BBC small screen series Dickensian in his contribution to Stories: Screen Narrative in the Digital Era, edited by Ian Christie and Annie van den Oever. His chapter is titled "The Lives of the Characters in Dickensian" and is segmented into the following three parts: a sample of his own fan fiction; a television review of the series, deemed in part "as good a television drama as Britain had ever known" and in whole "an artistic success" (185–86); and an accounting for the failure of the series, including opinions published by inept television critics.

William Kumbier presents a fine contribution to both multimedia studies of Dickens and the study of Dickens's artistic skill as a writer in "'A great retiring wave': Stress, Release, and Subjectivity in Dickens's Prosodic Seas." He compares selected texts from David Copperfield with both Dickens's adaptation of that text for his public readings and a cinematic adaptation of that public reading text. Dickens's chapter 55 "Tempest" meets the textual requirement regarding the public reading adaptation, and the 2012 motion picture The Invisible Woman completes the textual needs for such an intricate study. Kumbier finds that some of Dickens's prose "slips into the lineaments of the prose poem—that is, into prose that summons and exploits devices usually associated with poetry" (27) and provides a highly detailed account of these poetic aspects, which Dickens retains in his shortened public reading version. Actor Ralph Fiennes skillfully recreates Dickens as a public reader in the motion picture and independently confirms Kumbier's presentation of Dickens's "distinctive rhythms and cadences of the text," even when delivered at a faster pace (41–42). Kumbier also identifies passages in Nicholas Nickleby, Martin Chuzzlewit, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood that likely lend themselves to poetic analysis. No doubt passages from other novels, as well, will occur to readers, such as Jarvis Lorry's reverie that accompanies the rhythm of the mail coach in the third chapter of A Tale of Two Cities. Kumbier's analysis is insightful.

Sharon Aronofsky Weltman has written an excellent guide to multimedia productions in her chapter titled "Adopting and Adapting Dickens Since 1870: Stage, Film, Radio, Television," in The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens. She begins with multimedia adaptations of A Christmas Carol, Dickens's most often adapted work, and continues with selected novels "in [End Page 155] both traditional and edgy forms" (742). Her introduction to postcolonial renditions is informative for further study. After a brief consideration of radio adaptations, she reviews Dickens's second most adapted book, Oliver Twist, starting with commentary on ten stage productions that premiered before Dickens's final installment of the novel was published in April 1839, and ending with the 2007 BBC television production, with its "race-blind casting of Nancy" (753). She concludes, "Dickens's rich legacy of adaptation also demonstrates his fiction's flexibility as a vehicle to comment on contemporary cultural, political, and social concerns" (754).

Actor Phil Davis is widely known for his performances in multimedia productions, including his roles as Brooker in the movie Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Joshua Smallweed in the fifteen part television adaptation of Bleak House (2005), and Scrooge in David Edgar's stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol (2017) at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The Dickensian's ongoing series titled "Performing Dickens" provides Davis with a forum to discuss his knowledge of Dickens's works, how he prepares for performing his roles, challenges in performing Scrooge as interpreted by Edgar, and the like. Edgar himself is featured in The Dickensian's article "Dickens in My Life." He recounts his initial contact with the Royal Shakespeare Company regarding the possibility of adapting a Dickens novel for the Company's repertoire, which subsequently became The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, with its London premiere on 6 June 1980. He then recounts the Company's request in 2014 for the aforementioned adaptation of A Christmas Carol, which was performed from December 2017 through February 2018.

As for new media, Lydia Craig's "Tweeting Tippins: Using Digital Media to Recreate Our Mutual Friend's Serialization" is a fascinating account of her experiencing an entirely digital presentation of Our Mutual Friend, with participant access limited to monthly serialized additions, and with discussions restricted to "Twitter, Storify, email, and Wordpress blog posts and reflective podcasts" (149), apparently using an honor system in regards to meeting face-to-face (including Skype), text messaging, telephoning, faxing, and postal service mailing interactions. Craig's delight with this process and the value of the insights she gained are readily apparent. One wonders if this process can be replicated and expanded with simultaneous competition from digital versions of plagiarists based on Thomas Peckett Prest, Edward Stirling, William T. Moncrieff, Kenny Meadows, Thomas Onwhyn, and their ilk.

A fellow participant with Craig in the online serialization of Our Mutual Friend is Holly Furneaux. She acknowledges her, apparently, first sustained [End Page 156] Recent Dickens Studies 157 encounter with Dickens's use of the optative mood in novel writing in "'Even Supposing—': Reading/Writing Outside the Marriage Plot in Dickens Fan Fiction," a contribution to Replotting Marriage in Nineteenth-Century British Literature, edited by Jill Galvan and Elsie Michie. Furneaux finds that this "optative content of Dickens's work presents itself very clearly in a serial reading" (179). She credits today's Dickens fan fiction with the many instances in which "Dickens continually reanimated his characters for his own purposes," such as "the resurrection of Pickwick and the Wellers" in Master Humphrey's Clock, with serialization beginning in April 1840, and Dickens's public readings of Nancy's murder in Oliver Twist, with its first trial performance given in 1868 (175–76). In other words, "Dickens's own active role in presenting his work as eminently portable has contributed to its particular reach" (175). This is an astute observation worthy of further investigation, inasmuch as an American known only by the pseudonym Poz published fan fiction titled "An Omitted Pickwick Paper" in The Token and Atlantic Souvenir: A Christmas and New Year's Present, edited by S. G. Goodrich, in 1841 (51–57), only one year after Dickens's first reanimation in Master Humphrey's Clock.

Another participant with Craig and Furneaux in the online serialization of Our Mutual Friend is Juliet John, who provides a broader and more informative consideration of digital Dickens in her chapter titled "Crowdsourced Dickens: Adapting and Adopting Dickens in the Internet Age," found in The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens. She examines the origins and meanings of the term "crowdsourcing," which she suggests is common in Dickens studies, when more narrowly understood as an expected congruence "between Dickens's optimistic vision of an inclusive popular culture and the technological possibilities of the internet" (758). As this is such a new field of study, her inclusion of what could be called case studies will remain vital to future studies and later to the history of Dickensian crowd-sourcing, assuming that her cited links will always function. John takes a more measured approach by arguing "that we live in an inter-medial age in which old and new media are mutually entangled, and in which resource and infrastructure are required to generate as well as to sustain any 'crowd' of non-academic participants" (763). She reports how "the 'Charles Dickens Fan Club' site, for example, is populated by images, videos, polls, a Charles Dickens wall, 'wallpapers,['] 'icons,' a quiz, and a forum," yet "there is very little on the actual novels" (767). As of 2018, her "further reading" consists of one website and two books. As of 2020, her chapter in The Oxford Handbook is rightfully the fourth title on what is certain to become an expanding list of further reading. [End Page 157]

Other contenders for inclusion on John's list are examined in Pete Orford's The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Charles Dickens' Unfinished Novel and Our Endless Attempts to End It, which includes his own experience with crowdsourcing (150). Orford's book is a much needed addition to Don Cox's essential Charles Dickens's The Mystery of Edwin Drood: An Annotated Bibliography, published by AMS Press in 1998. He exercises sound judgment in determining which of Cox's entries have been seminal in the consideration of the unfinished novel's literary merits, while presenting a useful history of the puzzle that the novel's plot presents to readers. He believes that scholarship and adaptations have now (1985–2018) reached a stage that he terms "Irreverence" in approaching the novel, and he argues that this is by far the most mature stage as yet, regardless how one classifies scholarship and adaptations from 1870 through 1984.

He finds noteworthy such examples as "Sucking the Empire Dry: Colonial Critique in The Mystery of Edwin Drood" by Miriam O'Kane Mara in Dickens Studies Annual (vol. 32, 2002); "Introduction" by David Paroissien in the Penguin edition of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2002); "Edwin Drood by the Numbers" by Ray Dubberke in The Dickensian (vol. 100, 2004); Unequal Partners: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Victorian Authorship by Lillian Nayder (2010); and "'A Little Humouring of Pussy's Points!' or Sex—the Real Unsolved Mystery of Edwin Drood" by Natalie McKnight in Dickens Quarterly (vol. 30, 2013), as well as about a dozen other works that include an episode of Doctor Who and a video game. Orford's book necessarily belongs on this list. He comments on selected websites and even inserts selections of his own fan fiction, reminiscent of "Cold Case: Edwin Drood to His Maker" by Antony Dunn in A Mutual Friend: Poems for Charles Dickens, edited by Peter Robinson (75).

The next adaptation is a visual retelling of a Dickens character's appearance through the medium of fashion. Taeko Sakai relates what he calls "The 'Dolly Varden' Polonaise at the Seaside: A Fashion Revival in the Early 1870s." He attributes the design and popularity of "Dolly Varden" clothing and accessories in the early 1870s to (1) Dickens's death, (2) the publicized auction of much of Dickens's estate in 1870, and (3) the auction of W. P.Frith's 1842 painting of Dolly Varden, commissioned by Dickens, which presents much more detail than is found in her appearance in Phiz's illustrations for Barnaby Rudge. Sakai cites numerous contemporary sources about the prevalence of Dolly Varden high fashion, and he explains its association with seaside resorts.

The final adaptation is a simplification of nearly all of Dickens's novels, omitting only The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Anna Milbourne and her [End Page 158] associates have prepared for young readers The Usborne Complete Dickens: All the Novels Retold. Each novel is allotted thirty to forty pages, less one full-page color illustration, and less two introductory illustrated pages featuring noteworthy characters and a general indication of how they behave in the novel. A Christmas Carol replaces Edwin Drood. The book ends with a six-page introduction to Dickens's life and times (510–15).

The last article for this section can perhaps be best described as an analysis of a pseudo-adaptation of a Dickens character. In "Animal, the 21st Century Postmodernist Oliver Twist: A Glimpse of Khaufpur: Dead Bodies, Poor Bodies and 'Bodies-in-Pain,'" Albert Muñoz Varela posits that the nineteen-year-old young man, known only as Animal, in Indra Sinha's novel Animal's People (2007), represents Oliver Twist as he would appear in a novel written from a postmodern perspective. Accordingly, Animal is crude in speech, selfish, and overly sexualized. Retained similarities include the main character's being orphaned and living in poverty, as well as each author's calling for social reform.

biographies

2018 was a remarkable year in Dickens studies for publications with biographical emphases, ranging from assessments of biographies to limited aspects of Dickens's life to broad or ongoing aspects of Dickens's life, and from public perception of Dickens in his lifetime to public perception of Dickens in today's popular culture, knowingly presented apart from biographical accuracy. Although no new biographies of Dickens were published, A Companion to Literary Biography, edited by Richard Bradford, contains two entries relevant to Dickens. John Batchelor's contribution, titled "Dickens, Tennyson, Kipling," focuses on these three authors for their having written "works which are broadly autobiographical" (489), which are briefly reviewed. The entry primarily concerns biographies of these authors. For the section on Dickens, the most analysis is given to Peter Ackroyd's Dickens (1990), Michael Slater's Charles Dickens: A Life Defined by Writing (2009), and Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens: A Life (2011). Emily Bell's contribution is "Evidence and Invention: The Materials of Literary Biography" and is both well-researched and well-presented. Among her defining models are James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) and John Forster's The Life of Charles Dickens (1872–74). She intersperses her commentary with supporting and alternative perspectives, while delving generously into subsequent biographies of Dickens in light of their authors' goals, biases, and weaknesses. Likely due to space constraints, Lillian Nayder's The Other [End Page 159] Dickens: A Life of Catherine Hogarth (2011) and Michael Slater's The Great Charles Dickens Scandal (2012) are omitted, but their would-be locations in Bell's text are easily located in her review of types of modern literary biography.

Dickens's attempt to locate the house in which he was born in Portsmouth is briefly recounted in Portsmouth: A Literary and Pictorial Tour by Matt Wingett, a lavishly illustrated book, which includes Commercial Road ca. 1910, the street on which Dickens was born (13), and Portsmouth High Street in 1882, the location of the now demolished Portsmouth Theatre, featured in Nicholas Nickleby (frontispiece). In addition to an excerpt from Nicholas Nickleby and commentary about the novel, Wingett provides multiple excerpts from "Portsmouth" by James Hannay, as published by Dickens in the 24 September 1859 issue of All the Year Round.

Turning to Dickens's boyhood schooling, William F. Long reports his findings concerning William Giles, who definitely taught Dickens in Chatham, and Mr. Lyne, who possibly taught Dickens in London. In "'The Whole Nation is a Poorhouse': The Revd William Giles Recounts a Remark Made by an Old Pupil," Long considers the many times and ways in which Giles let people know that Dickens had been his pupil. Long also mentions Giles's unsuccessful efforts to have Dickens visit him and give additional public readings. In "Charles Dickens and Mr. Lyne's Academy," Long investigates the claims of George J. T. Merry in the 12 December 1871 issue of The Times [London] that Dickens had attended school with Merry at Mr. Lyne's Academy during 1825 and 1826. Although he can place Merry's and Dickens's families in the vicinity of the Academy at the time claimed by Merry, he has not yet found any corroborating evidence of Dickens's attendance at this particular school. It remains a possibility, but only if Dickens "briefly attended" the Academy (241).

Continuing with Dickens's preparation for a career as a newspaper reporter, Hugo Bowles adroitly argues in "Dickens's Shorthand Manuscripts" that in order to understand fully Dickens's commentary on stenography learned and used by David in David Copperfield, Dickens's surviving stenography needs to be analyzed, especially his personal modifications to Thomas Gurney's system published as Brachygraphy. This is all the more urgent in light of "our cultural alienation from stenography as a writing system," which results in fewer and fewer people who are "able to read shorthand systems which are not in current usage" (23). Bowles presents a highly serviceable table of eleven items containing Dickens's shorthand, their locations, dates of composition, and lengths (6). He explains the basics of Gurney's system and then guides the reader through Dickens's adherences [End Page 160] to and deviations from that system, with ample illustrations. Even so, not all of Dickens's shorthand has been deciphered, as yet.

Garrett Stewart in his book The One, Other, and Only Dickens reviews Dickens's knowledge and use of shorthand through David Copperfield's knowledge and use of shorthand, in order to help the reader identify and understand first-person assonance, "the truest clue to the stenographic legacy. Lurking there, even at the heart of that fullest narrativization of the author's shorthand training … is a hint of what its various early restraints may have bestowed on so much of the fictional writing that comes after this early enslavement to sheer place-holding graphemes." Stewart does caution the reader, regarding Dickens's occasional "brief burst of vocalic libido," that "I'll be steadily guessing [that it] is a matured yearning for all that the young Dickens, and David his delegate, had once learned to check by encryption, to clamp down on by erasure—and all that the Other Dickens ramps up in the aftermath" (40). Presumably, subsequently analyzed aspects of Dickens's text are also in the purview of guessing, until the reader is asked, "Posing [a previous] speculation more pointedly yet, as we've implicitly been doing: might not the onetime trauma of aurality be therapized by later play?" (58). Stewart's examples and interpretations necessarily require the answer yes. Two of the book's four chapters concern "the demonstrably probable remembrance on Dickens's part of his saturation in the palpable aurality" of Shakespeare's English (67), unfortunately without a consideration of original Shakespearean pronunciation (OP), thereby limiting numerous conclusions to Victorian pronunciation of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets and inadvertently crediting an Other Shakespeare, to whom Dickens is in debt for Shakespeare's aural accomplishments. For scholarship on this topic, see "The History of OP Studies" and "The Modern OP Movement" in David Crystal's The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation (xxxii–li). Apart from the conclusions based on Shakespeare, Stewart's analysis of Dickens's texts can withstand the reader's scrutiny, as Stewart is not arguing for full agreement and likely will achieve numerous instances of either agreement or appreciation for insight into Dickens's skill with language. The section on comedy is noteworthy, too (108–19).

With Dickens's leaving behind his work as a parliamentary reporter and pursuing a career, in part, as a novelist, Robert J. Kirkpatrick investigates the identity of a schoolmaster employed by William Shaw at Bowes Academy, visited by Dickens during his fact-finding trip to Yorkshire, just before writing the first number of Nicholas Nickleby in 1838. Readers of "The Malcontent Schoolmaster 'McKay'" learn that the schoolmaster, previously misidentified as either John or William McKay, was, in fact, Charles Hopkins [End Page 161] Mackay, who had operated his own Yorkshire school before closing it and then working as an assistant schoolmaster in at least two schools, one of which was Bowes Academy, a source for Dotheboys Hall in Nickleby. He remained a schoolmaster until his death in 1849. Eric G. Lorentzen documents Dickens's views on the catechistic method of teaching and learning in "'This Schoolroom is a Nation': Subverting the Catechistic Method in Dickens." He provides examples from popular, representative texts, while exploring Dickens's views on said methodology within Dickens's larger concern for educational reform. He notes that Dickens was not alone in his literary attacks on catechistic texts and gives supporting excerpts from William Wordsworth and Charlotte Brontë, along with a passing reference to William Blake. His copious notes are worthy of commendation.

Even after Dickens had ceased his work as a parliamentary reporter, William F. Long and Paul Schlicke explain that he "nevertheless felt the need to express his [political] views in the press, albeit pseudonymously" (63). In "To Be Sung at All Conservative Dinners" they reproduce two verses of Dickens's anonymous political squib "The Fine Old English Gentleman. New Version. (To be said or sung at all Conservative Dinners.)," originally published in the The Examiner on 7 August 1841 (500) and later identified as Dickens's own verses and reprinted in part by John Forster in The Life of Charles Dickens (191–92). The authors recount the context for Dickens's original verses but are silent regarding Forster's suppression of the sixth verse, which is also omitted in their article.

With Dickens now a novelist known as both Boz and Charles Dickens, Long and Schlicke reveal the results of their inquiry as to when "Boz" ceased to appear in advertising copy for Dickens's works. They make a strong case that Dickens was displeased with the pseudonym's retention throughout the serialization of Dombey and Son in their article "Positively the Last Appearance: 'Boz' in Advertisements for Dombey and Son."

Jerome Meckier considers one aspect of Dickens's two journeys to America in "Dickens's Presidents." Meckier recounts Dickens's meetings with President John Tyler (1841–45), former President John Quincy Adams (1825–29), and President Andrew Johnson (1865–69). He includes Dickens's commentary about these men, which he skillfully presents against the backdrop of American politics in the 1840s and 1860s. President Johnson attended all four of Dickens's public readings in Washington, DC, on 3, 4, 6, and 7 February 1868, each held in Carroll Hall, according to Malcolm Andrews ("Schedule" 284). Meckier rightly concludes that President Johnson "can be called a Dickensian" (145). Michael Hollington looks backwards and forwards in Dickens's life in respect to traveling, in [End Page 162] "'Milestones on the Dover Road': Dickens and Travel," an engaging entry in The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens. Hollington begins his consideration of "Dickens and Travel" with a preeminent piece on the significance and symbolism of the Dover Road in history, Dickens's life, and Dickens's fiction and nonfiction. He proceeds with an examination of Dickens as "an inveterate walker," from Dickens's own two categories of walking, first, with determination towards a goal, and second, with a leisurely pace as an end in itself (314). Hollington, already an expert on Dickens and Italy, adds a reflective and sound understanding of Dickens and America. He concludes with aspects of travel in ten novels, grouped into the categories (1) picaresque, (2) "finest achievements," and (3) "a circular pattern of travel between two poles, of which London is a constant" (320).

In Britain, Dickens frequently traveled by railway in his later years, especially in order to accommodate a wide geographical range of public reading engagements. Everyone interested in Dickens and the railway in general, or Dickens's experience in the Staplehurst Railway Accident on 9 June 1865, in particular, or even his ghost story "The Signal-man," will find compelling reading in Leon Litvack's "Dickens and the Stephenson Party: New Letters to E. M. S. Paine." He publishes the text of two of three previously unknown letters from Dickens to Ellen Matilda Steward Paine of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, daughter of a railway developer, as well as author of The Two James's and the Two Stephensons; or, The Earliest History of Passenger Transit on Railways (1861). The letters are dated 30 December 1865, and 1 January 1866, and Dickens politely but firmly declines to support Paine's financial appeal for an unidentified cause. Litvack includes an introductory context regarding Dickens's interest in the railway and public calls for governmental reform, along with a perceptive analysis of possible contexts for Paine's appeal to Dickens.

Several publications probe aspects relevant to Dickens throughout his life. For example, Litvack presents a comprehensive and well-organized account of what Dickens read and how so many of those readings affected his own views and writings, in the entry "Dickens's Lifetime Reading," found in The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens. In addition to naming and explaining the importance of particular works, he lists many of the topics and types of literature read, which will aid future scholarship that delves into these topics in relation to Dickens's life and writings. Litvack notes both that Dickens's works "display evidence of substantial research" and that Dickens as editor of Household Words and All the Year Round was conversant with all of the nonfiction that he published (40). In the same handbook, Molly Clark Hillard examines Dickens's lifetime interest in children's literature [End Page 163] in "Charles Dickens and the 'Dark Corners' of Children's Literature." She reveals a wealth of children's literature associated with Dickens, far beyond his two published works written purposely for children, A Child's History of England and "Holiday Romance." She cites essays on or related to fairy tales from Household Words and All the Year Round, by Dickens or accepted by Dickens as editor. Hillard includes aspects of childhood prominently placed in David Copperfield and Hard Times. She concludes, in part, that "while fairy-tale studies, child studies, educational history, book history, and biographical studies all touch upon children's literature as an emerging genre, none fully examines the range of ways in which Dickens's writing may be seen to engage with it" (352). Hillard actually comes close to doing so herself in the space allotted to her in the Handbook, but she excludes from her analysis what Dickens called "the children's New Testament" (1846), subsequently titled and published as The Life of Our Lord (1934), which, as home-schooling literature purposely written for his own children, is relevant to her commentary on home-schooling (343). If the omission was based on the "dark corners" aspect of the entry's title, this example of children's literature still belongs in Hillard's commentary, in the context of Dickens's own self-identified dark corner of children's literature, about which he wrote in 1839, "I do most decidedly object, and have a most invincible and powerful repugnance to that frequent reference to the Almighty in small matters, which so many excellent persons consider necessary in the education of children. I think it monstrous to hold the source of inconceivable mercy and goodness perpetually up to them as an avenging and wrathful God who … is to punish them awfully for every little venial offence which is almost a necessary part of that stage of life" (568).

In "Grammar of Choice: Charles Dickens's Authentic Religion," Hai Na examines primarily The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood in order to identify Dickens's "authentic religion," about which he writes, "I would suggest, therefore, that religion is something Dickens wishes his characters and his readers to be informed by, to participate in, something I would call authentic" (127–28). Na's suggestion was actually asserted by Dickens himself in his 8 June 1870 letter to John Makeham, writing, "I have always striven in my writings to express veneration for the life and lessons of Our Saviour; because I feel it; and because I re-wrote that history for my children. … But I have never made proclamation of this from the house tops" (548). Na's analysis is fruitful and supports Dickens's claim, which is not the case with "Religiosity in Charles Dickens' Christmas Novels: A Study of Structural Genetic" by Robert Juni Tua Sitio and others. The authors base their [End Page 164] understanding of Dickens's religiosity on tenets found in Martin Luther's Large Catechism (1529), not The Church of England's The Book of Common Prayer (1662), Unitarian minister Edward Tagart's teachings at Little Portland Street Chapel in London, and Dickens's simplified New Testament history for his children. Further, findings are presented, apparently, only when they apply to all five Christmas books, which inadvertently give the reader an impression that the authors are unfamiliar with the actual content of the individual books. An additional questionable proposal is that the findings are valid just because a mathematical analysis was performed on data derived from the texts.

A study of Dickens's lifetime medical history is much more successful. Nick Cambridge's article "Bleak Health: Charles Dickens's Medical History Revisited" reviews what Dickens himself reported about his various illnesses in his letters, with supplementary information from George Dolby as manager of Dickens's public reading tours and John Forster as Dickens's biographer. Cambridge discusses Dickens's ailments under the headings "Colds and Influenza," "Rheumatism of the Face, or Tic Douloureaux," "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder," "Gonorrhoea," "Chronic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning," "Renal Colic and Gout," "Post-traumatic Stress Disorder," "Headaches," "Asthma," "Dental Problems," "Anal Fistula and Haemorrhoids," "Steel and Strong Acids [i.e. sebaceous cyst or carbuncle]" "Accidents," "Depression," and "Heart Problems and Stroke." Absent is a diagnosis of Dickens's sleep disorders.

On a lighter note, Jenny Hartley writes in "Dickens and the Geranium" about the importance of geraniums as Dickens's favorite flower throughout his life, including their use as a prop during his public readings. She then considers the role of gardening and flowers in both Victorian England and Dickens's own writings, all of which make for a fine article.

Other biographical articles center on persons important in Dickens's life. One concerns Catherine Dickens, while three concern Ellen Ternan, two of which, unsurprisingly, include the breakdown of Dickens's marriage. In "'Charles Dickens and His Wife': A Sketch by Henry Doyle," William F. Long reproduces one undated page of pen-and-ink sketches portraying Charles Dickens, Catherine Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, and two as yet unidentified gentlemen, drawn by Henry Doyle and held by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. It is difficult to assess the renderings in the absence of representative sketches drawn with more care. Even a comparison with sketches known to have been drawn with rapidity would enable one to make a more informed judgment, should Doyle's portfolio contain any of these. If all of his sketches are comparable, then Charles and Catherine receive rather unflattering portrayals. Long offers several possible explanations for these [End Page 165] depictions, including "that the drawing represents Henry's remembrance, in 1852, of an encounter with Dickens and Catherine in the mid-1840s, when he was a teenager. The slightness of the sketch and its informal setting suggest that such an encounter may have involved nothing more than a chance sighting by Henry of his subjects" (75).

In "Gossip and Fiction in Summer 1858: The Dickens Scandal and The Gordian Knot," Long shares intriguing details of similarities between Charles William Shirley Brooks's serialized novel The Gordian Knot and the breakdown of Dickens's marriage, accompanied by his involvement with actress Ellen Ternan. He is fully justified in examining Dickens's professional relationship with Brooks before, during, and after Dickens publicized his marriage difficulties, as a contemporary writer for the London newspaper Constitutional Press noticed and commented on those same similarities. As Brooks was composing The Gordian Knot while it was being serialized, the manuscript, if extant, could provide needed evidence regarding Brooks's motives and timing. His surviving diaries and numerous letters are sources for additional investigation. Francis O'Gorman in "Trollope, Orley Farm, and Dickens's Marriage Breakdown" notes puzzling wording in a comment about Dickens, made by Anthony Trollope in An Autobiography (1883), specifically, "'The primary object of a novelist is to please; and this man's novels have been found more pleasant than those of any other writer. It might of course be objected to this, that though the books have pleased they have been injurious, that their tendency has been immoral and their teaching vicious; but it is almost needless to say that no such charge has ever been made against Dickens'" (626).

In attempting to make sense of Trollope's use of the phrase "almost needless to say," O'Gorman reports on numerous aspects of Trollope's novel Orley Farm (1861–62), because there are five different ways in which Trollope "invited his reader to assess the two men side-by-side," with a certainty on Trollope's part that he would be correctly deemed the better of the two (626). He also posits that Orley Farm alluded to "Great Britain's most popular novelist more or less explicitly in some ways because it hopes that a few readers might infer what it does not make explicit in another: that is, the novel hopes that those readers might identify a coded rebuke to the older writer made on the basis of rumour and speculation about him, as well as a number of hard facts" regarding Dickens's 1858 public defense "against rumours of an involvement with someone else after the failure of his marriage to Catherine" (634–35). He adds the possibility that Trollope's admonition in Orley Farm was also based on Trollope's knowledge of William Makepeace Thackeray's comment in the Garrick Club that Dickens [End Page 166] was involved with an actress, which prompted Dickens to turn on Thackeray for a prolonged period. Although O'Gorman regards the intentions of his article "thoroughly unambitious" (626), the article is actually original in its analysis of Orley Farm, compelling in its interpretation of Trollope's motivation, and quite consistent with Trollope's innuendos regarding Dickens in several of his forty-seven novels, not to mention Trollope's refusal to submit any novels for serialization in All the Year Round until after Dickens's death, when Dickens's son Charley became editor and serialized Is He Popinjoy?, The Duke's Children, and Mr. Scarborough's Family.

Finally, Jeremy Parrott writes about "Tom Trollope, the Ternans, Dickens and the Expatriate Circle in Italy" and centers his article on author and contributor to All the Year Round Thomas Adolphus Trollope, his first wife Theodosia Garrow, and his second wife, Fanny Ternan, sister of Dickens's paramour Ellen Ternan. He designates Tom Trollope the "lynch-pin" of a group of expatriates living in Florence, Italy (47), and gives biographical details.

A newly titled book about Dickens's younger daughter Katey was published in 2018. Dickens's Artistic Daughter Katey: Her Life, Loves and Impact is authored by Lucinda Hawksley, and she has now published three versions of her biography of Dickens's daughter Catherine Elizabeth Macready Dickens. She always uses the same chapter titles, but the biography's title keeps changing: Katey: The Life and Loves of Dickens's Artist Daughter (2006) and Charles Dickens' Favorite Daughter: The Life, Loves, and Art of Katey Dickens Perugini (2013). She helpfully makes clear when content supersedes or expands a previously published account, generally regarding Katey's paintings. However, the placement choices and quality of the illustrations are significantly different in all three books. The earliest book contains high quality color illustrations, accompanied by carefully reproduced black and white illustrations. For instance, the clarity of Dickens's children and Grip the raven in Daniel Maclise's portrait is quite good, while its appearance in the second book is less detailed, before becoming ghostlike and unrecognizable in the third book. A handy family tree with three generations of the Dickens family is included in the first two books and omitted in the third version.

Hawksley is an engaging writer, quite capable of drawing the reader into Katey's life, sometimes from the perspective of a close friend of Dickens's children, sometimes as if the reader is one of Dickens's children, and even sometimes as if the reader has become an eavesdropper, privy to conversations that the listener was never intended to hear. For instance, readers who are already familiar with major events in Dickens's life are given retellings [End Page 167] as other family members commented on and experienced them, including those instances when Katey's views have not survived but those of her siblings, mother, or Aunt Georgina have. Hawksley has seen and describes many more of Katey's paintings than are included among the biography's illustrations, and she has an extraordinary talent in revealing them to the mind's eye through her detailed descriptions.

Two additional comments pertain to scholarship on Dickens and his family. First, Hawksley provides no citations, creating the types of problems one frequently encounters when considering citing Peter Ackroyd's Dickens (1990) as a source. In many instances, to establish Ackroyd's accuracy, one needs to consult demonstrably authoritative sources, who should then be cited in place of Ackroyd, as a professional courtesy. Advance knowledge of Hawksley's accuracy extends only to what is already common knowledge in Dickens scholarship. (She does cite all of her sources in her article "Dickens in the 1840s," mentioned later in this section.) Second, she inadvertently presents a misleading characterization of Wilkie Collins, brother of Katey's first husband Charles Allston Collins. Katey and the Dickens family were quite aware that there were peculiarities in brother Charles's marriage with Katey, and rumors circulated, too. Katey and the Dickens family were also quite aware that Charles Dickens was breaking his marriage vows to his wife, Catherine, and additional rumors circulated. However, throughout Wilkie Collins's many appearances in the biography, he is presented as an unmarried gentleman who is no more than an observer of his brother's marital mistreatment of Katey, and of his friend Charles's marital mistreatment of Catherine. Wilkie himself had two residences, living with a widow and her daughter, and also living with an unmarried woman and their own children. Neither woman seems to have minded sharing Wilkie with the other. Katey would most certainly have had an opinion not only about her brother-in-law, but also about the nature of her husband's relationship with his brother. On the topic of marriage, Hawksley is interested only in Katey's moral outrage towards her father and the extent of her unfulfilled needs from being married to Charles, leading, apparently, to Katey's committing adultery.

My own essay, "Frances Maria Kelly, Charles Dickens, and Miss Kelly's Theatre and Dramatic School," identifies Dickens's knowledge of and interest in the London actress Frances Maria Kelly before their first meeting in 1845, at which time Dickens determined that her private theater in Soho would be ideal for his amateur acting company's performances of Ben Jonson's Every Man in His Humour and Mrs. Charles Gore's A Good Night's Rest; or Two O'Clock in the Morning. Dickens not only continued to rent Miss [End Page 168] Kelly's facilities as needed but also provided her with financial assistance prior to her bankruptcy in 1849. Dickens and Mark Lemon were unsuccessful in their attempts to elicit either her performance or her cooperation in a "farewell benefit" for much needed income, and their final efforts on her behalf came to naught.

Three articles bring readers up to date regarding writers published by Dickens in Household Words and All the Year Round. Jeremy Parrott expands many of Anne Lohrli's biographical entries for contributors to Dickens's journal in Household Words: A Weekly Journal 1850–1859 Conducted by Charles Dickens, some of whom Lohrli designates as "not identified." Parrott's "Lohrli Revisited: Newly Identified Contributors to Household Words" is published in two parts. Meanwhile, Leon Litvack and Hugh Craig advance the identification of Joseph Parkinson and the extent to which Dickens coauthored an article with him, in "Charles Dickens and Joseph Parkinson: Disentangling Composite Authorship in All the Year Round." They pen a detailed biography of Parkinson and then analyze the article "What is Sensational?" (published in the 2 March 1867 issue), by Parkinson and Dickens, for evidence of the nature of the joint authorship. Factors considered include other writings by Parkinson, Dickens's instructions to Parkinson regarding this particular article, the application of house style to articles published in All the Year Round, and application of Principal Components Analysis, a "statistical data reduction technique, designed to uncover a few important underlying factors in a dataset with a large number of variables" (334), such as words that Parkinson regularly uses but Dickens does not, and the reverse. The authors are to be commended for their thoroughness in providing clear explanations of the analytical methodology and interpretations of the data produced. By relying on multiple analytical approaches, they conclude that Dickens "would seem to be the 'chief author'" while exercising an additional "degree of influence" through the application of the journal's house style (341).

Katherine G. Charles explores autobiographical aspects of Dickens in "Meeting 'Me': Charles Dickens's Moments of Self-Encounter." She provides a comprehensive introduction to the role of autobiography in both Dickens's writings and life, before delving into the topic of the extent to which Dickens is and is not revealing his younger self to his readers. Two selections from The Uncommercial Traveller are ideally suited for such an exploration, "Travelling Abroad" and "City of London Churches," both published in 1860. Her careful study of Dickens's self-presentation leads to what she calls a "wobble in Dickens's writing at the juncture of sentiment and irony that leaves readers to shift for themselves" (63). She then brilliantly applies this finding to pairs of literary critics whose conclusions are [End Page 169] incompatible but who argue as if their views are definitive and final. A slight correction to the article may be helpful to some readers. Charles states that Dickens was annoyed by sitting for Ary Scheffer's portrait of him in 1855–56 and traces the painting to the National Portrait Gallery, with a copy in the Charles Dickens Musuem (47–48, 63). Actually, Dickens was annoyed by sitting for two portraits simultaneously, the second by Ary Scheffer's brother Henri, which served as the basis for an illustration of Dickens in the 3 July 1856 issue of L'Amie de la Maison (8) and which is reproduced in the Summer 2017 issue of The Dickensian (167).

Perhaps the most exciting event about Dickens in 2018 was the first public viewing of Margaret Gillies's 1843 portrait of Dickens since its appearance at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition in London in 1844. In an essay in The Dickensian titled "The Lost Portrait: Charles Dickens by Margaret Gillies," Emma Rutherford recounts the history of Gillies's portrait, upon which the frontispiece of Dickens was based, in the first volume of A New Spirit of the Age, edited by Richard H. Horne in 1844 (a volume that critiques all of Dickens's major publications to date). The portrait's location was lost to public knowledge during Gillies's lifetime and was rediscovered in South Africa in 2017. In the book Charles Dickens: The Lost Portrait. Exhibition 22 November 2018–25 January 2019, editor Philip Mould has designed and assembled a high quality, well-written, illustrated accompaniment to the Charles Dickens Museum's public exhibition of the portrait. In addition to a splendid, highly detailed color photograph of the portrait itself, the book contains Emma Rutherford's essay on the portrait (slightly revised from the version mentioned above), "The Lost Portrait: A Note on Provenance" by Lawrence Hendra, "Dickens in the 1840s" by Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, and "Charles Dickens: A Life in Objects" by Louisa Price, with color photographs of carefully selected items formerly owned by Dickens and now found in the Charles Dickens Museum collection. Price gives an excellent account of their significance in relationship to Gillies's portrait.

Mary L. Shannon's article "Dickens in Byron's Chair: Authenticity, Author Portraits, and Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture" is a timely, broader approach to author portraits, in which she reveals similarities in the visual marketing of Lord Byron and Dickens as both celebrities and authors. She discusses how Dickens "makes use of the tropes of Byronic authorship, and draws careful distinctions between Byronic celebrity (and scandalous notoriety) and his own relationship with his readers," including Dickens's take on Byron the celebrity in "Horatio Sparkins" and David Copperfield (62–63). She studies the role of unauthorized marketing in establishing identity, as well as the role of Pierce Egan's Life in London; or, The Day [End Page 170] and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom, Accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in Their Rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis (1821), illustrated by Robert and George Cruikshank, which "Dickens and his artists" likely "drew upon in ways which developed Dickens's authorial identities" (58). She concludes with thoughtful commentary on how Dickens eventually transcended his pose for a sketch by Leonardo Cattermole, sitting in a chair in which Byron purportedly had sat and later becoming, after his own death, the author who has vacated The Empty Chair depicted by Samuel Luke Fildes in 1870 and for which "there is no up-and-coming young author, it seems, brave enough or talented enough to sit in this dead writer's chair" (77). Shannon includes a wealth of illustrations with her article. José Viera continues the discussion of authorial identities and self-promotion in "Our Famous Friend: Analysing Charles Dickens as a Pioneering (Literary) Celebrity in Matthew Pearl's The Last Dickens (2009)," a chapter in Persistence and Resistance in English Studies, edited by Sara Martin and others. Viera praises Matthew Pearl for being the only novelist who has portrayed Dickens's "connection with American audiences and, by extension, the unprecedented degree of fame he faced in the nation" (78). He then identifies some of the novel's passages in which Pearl explores "the ways in which the author crafted and maintained his public image before an ambivalent public" (79). He continues by identifying some of the novel's passages in which "readers are given an insight into Dickens' ambivalent relationship with his American audience" (81). The article lacks perspective on the extent to which the Americans knew, or thought they knew, about Dickens's private life during 1867 and 1868. Commentary "based on real events" (81) by fictional Americans does not, in and of itself, equate with actual American commentary from historical documents, but it does lead to public perception of Dickens in today's popular culture, admittedly departing from biographical accuracy.

In Clémence Folléa's "Reconstructing the Author for a Wide Audience: Dickens in Doctor Who (2005) and Assassin's Creed (2015)," she states that an appearance of Dickens in popular entertainment "must to some extent abide by the rules of the Culture Industry" (para. 3), meaning portrayals that are "commodified and standardised representations" (para. 5). She summarizes what makes Dickens readily identifiable in the television series Doctor Who and in the video game "Assassin's Creed" and concludes that he is "an apparently mainstream and predictable version of Dickens," which helps make the productions in which he appears "accessible and appealing for a wide audience" (para. 9). She next explores how Dickens is successfully altered in both instances, as Dickens learns about the world of Doctor Who [End Page 171] in the former and decides to alter his writing plans, and as Dickens reacts to the video game's plot in the latter and once again decides to alter his writing plans.

Lastly, Saverio Tomaiuolo's book Deviance in Neo-Victorian Culture presents a chapter titled "Introduction: Dickens in Dismaland." He explains, "Like other artistic expressions conceived, elaborated and produced in the present and set in a near or distant past, neo-Victorianism may be described as a peculiar form of cultural time travel" (1). He provides a few examples of such fiction in various media, after which he states that the purpose of his book is "to offer a wide-ranging approach to the ways in which alterity, difference and departures from a 'normative definition' … of Victorianism can both illuminate our perception of 'deviance' in our own time, and suggest that 'deviance' was equally prevalent in the Victorian age." The word deviance is placed in quotation marks, because he relies on Marshall Clinard and Robert Meier's sociological understanding of deviant behavior (1957), namely as a construct "according to specific sociocultural norms that exercise a form of control and, indirectly, of power" (7). He concludes his introductory chapter with a delightful example of a fully cognizant Charles Dickens in ca. 2016, visiting Dickens World in Chatham, Kent. Tomaiuolo, as omniscient narrator, reveals Dickens's reactions to not only Dickens World but also the interactive art project Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, open to the public for just over a month in 2015. Dickens is amused by the former and bemused by the latter.

thematic studies across the novels

Two books assess Dickens's treatment of selected themes. Peter Cook's The Romantic Legacy of Charles Dickens focuses on four themes, namely, Childhood in chapter 2, Time in chapter 3, Progress in chapter 4, and Outsiders in chapter 5—all within the context of Dickens's lifetime engagement with Romanticism, but not as a chronological development during his career. Cook acknowledges in his introduction that, generally speaking, all of Dickens's novels are candidates for examination among these four themes. Each chapter features excerpts from Romantic poetry and occasional commentary on the poets' prose, as then found or mirrored in Dickens's allusions, imagery, characterization, and the like. Cook regularly cites related scholarship while he demonstrates the prevalence of Dickens's Romantic tendencies. Each chapter is accompanied with its own bibliography. All of the novels are included to a greater or lesser extent, with A [End Page 172] Tale of Two Cities found among the abbreviations used in endnotes but inadvertently omitted from the index. A Christmas Carol is included with the novels.

With Peter J. Ponzio's expanded selection of themes in Themes in Dickens: Seven Recurring Concerns in the Writings, it is possible to read the themes in the table of contents and then, before reading the introduction or the book itself, speculate on which rich examples he has chosen to study. He addresses the following six themes in Dickens's novels: Class and Class Distinctions in chapter 1, Naming, Identity and Self in chapter 2, Dreams and Dreaming in chapter 3, Society and Social Pretension in chapter 4, Ineffective Institutions in chapter 5, and Prison in chapter 6. He explains in his introduction that his "book is intended for use by readers who have a working knowledge of Dickens's writing as well as a familiarity with his life and times" (6). Ponzio begins chapter 1 with brief but helpful commentary on the economic development of the middle class within Britain's rigid class structure, along with the effect of the Industrial Revolution on the poor. Against the backdrop of current events, he explores Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop, and Dombey and Son, with extra emphasis placed on Dickens's "attacks on social injustice" in Bleak House, Little Dorrit, and Our Mutual Friend (22–28). He concludes with a cogent review of relevant parts of Sketches by Boz. Chapter 2 includes many brief references to various novels, but the sustained focus is on David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities, especially concerning personality splitting and the doubling of characters. Chapter 3 starts with a full overview of "Dickens's understanding of psychology and its influence on character development" (72), followed by an examination of Dickens's skill in observation and belief in mesmerism. Ponzio then gives a detailed explanation of Sigmund Freud's theory of dream formation. Novels featured in the chapter are The Old Curiosity Shop, Martin Chuzzlewit, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. A Christmas Carol is briefly considered, as well. Chapter 4 includes many brief references to many novels, but primary emphasis is given to Dombey and Son, Bleak House, and Little Dorrit. Chapter 5's exploration of "Ineffective Institutions" may prompt one to name all fifteen novels; however, Ponzio selects Nicholas Nickleby and Hard Times as his primary examples. Finally, chapter 6 addresses the role of prison in The Pickwick Papers, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations, along with references to American Notes and "Criminal Courts" and "A Visit to Newgate" in Sketches by Boz. The book features endnotes with discerning commentary. Notwithstanding Ponzio's claim that this book is intended for readers already familiar with Dickens, it is so well-written that readers who are unfamiliar with Dickens [End Page 173] can very easily identify unread novels of personal interest, equipped solely with his commentary on themes in Dickens. The only novel omitted is The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and the only mystery included is how to derive the subtitle's promised Seven Recurring Concerns in the Writings among a total of six chapters that emphasize six recurring themes.

studies of individual novels

The Pickwick Papers

Two authors selected two specific features of The Pickwick Papers, origins of the novel and one of the interpolated stories. In "Snoring for the Million: Pickwick and the Parliamentary Papers," Carolyn Vellenga Berman provides multiple similarities between Dickens's text and published parliamentary debates, and between Dickens's text and Robert Seymour's The Schoolmaster Abroad (1834), a series of political cartoons and commentary on Lord [Henry] Brougham, M.P. In "Dickens Changes Course: Pickwick's Revisionist 'Stroller's Tale,'" Nancy Aycock Metz studies "The Stroller's Tale" in the context of similar such stories about both actual performers and their fictional counterparts. Her identification of prototypes is complete enough to support her analysis of what is original to Dickens. However, her interpretation that "The Stroller's Story" was "Dickens's bold and course-changing gamble to come before the public in his own voice and on his own authority" is less supported, owing to the omission of commentary on the extent to which Dickens abstained from making this gamble in the individual publication of his sketches, and in the other interpolated stories in Pickwick, not to mention The Pickwick Papers itself (358).

Oliver Twist

Michelle L. Wilson interestingly argues in her article "Buried Narratives: Exhuming the Mother's Story in Oliver Twist" that Dickens's masterful presentation of multiple narratives in Bleak House contrasts well with his inability to do so in Oliver Twist. She begins with a telling analysis of Oliver Twist's mother's awkward legal position of giving birth unwed, and dying in a workhouse not in her own parish. She derives her findings from the text of "An Act for the Amendment and Better Administration of the Laws Relating to the Poor in England and Wales," commonly known as the New Poor Law (1834). Her article then features a sustained analysis of confusion in the novel's plot based on the crucial question "When are we?" in the text, noting eight scholars whose critiques of the novel fail to address this question, owing to their apparent consensus that only "Where are we?" offers insight. [End Page 174] Wilson explains, "There is confusion in time as Dickens attempts to track multiple narratives—a trick he will master in Bleak House—and mark their simultaneity." For instance, "Oliver seems to move forward only to fall back—as Fagin and his gang pull him from the domestic plot. Much of the novel seems to trap him and us" (255). She demonstrates a full knowledge of scholarship on Oliver Twist and is adept at presenting weaknesses within supposedly established conclusions about Dickens's skill, or lack thereof, as an author.

The Old Curiosity Shop

Six articles on The Old Curiosity Shop span the spectrum of the novel's own reinforcement of the sensation of serialization, to the novel's economic insights, to Little Nell's death, to the novel's random selection as a source of satire. William Lee Hughes explains in "Impersonal Grief: Charles Dickens and Serial Forms of Affect" how the process of writing and publishing a serialized novel over the course of more than a year "introduces pauses, moments of arrested time, into the movement of the narrative temporality, much like the pauses of a clock's hand as it ticks, which impact and modulate the affective qualities of the text, forming a rhythm of interstices" (88–89). He demonstrates this aspect of narration in The Old Curiosity Shop, with its effect on the experience of grief within grief's interrelatedness to sentimentality, mourning, and melancholia. Hughes also discusses scholarship that supports or partially supports his analysis, and he explains the basis of his disputes with other scholars. Joshua Gooch, in "The Anxiety of Inheritance: Work and the Impasses of Accumulation in Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop," a chapter found in Political Economy, Literature, and the Formation of Knowledge, 1720–1850, edited by Richard Adelman and Catherine Packham, presents a highly interesting study of how Dickens, who "lacks a clear political alignment" during the 1840s, supports "British political economic discussions of inheritance" that are grounded in a "focus on familial feeling, paternal authority, and demands for equity," all of which are revealed in The Old Curiosity Shop (185). He suggests that Dickens fictionalizes a "commodity-centric world," which leads to "a search for escape from the ways in which capitalism distributes wealth" (190). He regrets that Dickens's use of sentimentality "evokes" at least three different economic interpretations of the novel, "without fully endorsing any one" (198). He concludes, "Perhaps more broadly, then, inheritance may solicit anxiety as a mechanism able to capture and internalize accumulations of wealth, mistaking social potentials for the pride of personal possession" (199). In "Exhuming the City: The Politics and Poetics of Graveyard Clearance," found in editors Grace Moore and Michelle J. Smith's Victorian Environments: Acclimatizing to [End Page 175] Change in British Domestic and Colonial Culture, Haewon Hwang introduces Dickens as an opposing force to "the decline of religious rites attending burials and the elimination of burial grounds from city centres," an opposition that Dickens and other Victorians implemented "through material commemorations or ghostly hauntings in literary representations." Dickens inserts "manifestations of the dead" in The Old Curiosity Shop (120), with the result that "Nell's urban past constantly interrupts the peaceful countryside in furtive shadows that haunt the narrative. … In the countryside, Nell must confront these spectres again, from the glass-eyed waxworks resembling corpses in her room, to the graveyard with its crumbling ruins and ghostly carvings" (121). David McAllister has a much narrower interest in aspects of death in the novel, which he discusses in his chapter "Dickens's 'Better Thoughts of Death': Psychology, Sentimentalism, and the Garden-Cemetery Aesthetic of The Old Curiosity Shop," published in his book Imagining the Dead in British Literature and Culture, 1790–1848. He associates Little Nell's death with Dickens's commentary on William Wordsworth's poem "We Are Seven" and credits Dickens with "a conscious attempt to develop a new aesthetic of representing the dead: one that was based on his psychological theories, rooted in his admiration of Wordsworth, and intricately linked to the rise of new cemetery spaces in Britain's cities" (154). Nathan Murray approaches the novel's serialized American reception with a valiant effort to classify once and for all a widely published anecdote as apocryphal. In his "A Possible Source for the Apocryphal Anecdote Concerning the Reception of Little Nell's Death," he attempts to prove that no one in New York City monitored incoming ships from England in early 1841 for the purposes of being on a pier, and therefore being able to learn from arriving passengers within hearing distance if anyone had read the final number of The Old Curiosity Shop in Master Humphrey's Clock and could reveal whether or not Little Nell had died. Murray reviews many publications about Dickens that could have reported such an anecdote as true, and he reports not finding one until 1939, leading him to believe that the account was invented, presumably in 1939. Of course, this analysis is missing an examination of (1) publications from 1841 through 1869, (2) all shipping records for the earliest possible arrivals of passengers and crew (or, for cargo ships, just crew) whose departure from England occurred just after the last number of The Old Curiosity Shop had been published, (3) all passenger and crew lists for said ships, (4) all New York City newspapers published during and after the arrivals of said ships, and (5) all surviving letter and diary accounts written by those passengers and crew. Moreover, the anecdote could be factual, but at a different port of entry on the eastern coast! Concluding with The Old [End Page 176] Curiosity Shop as a randomly selected novel for analysis, Herbert F. Tucker humorously mimics (or is deeply ironic regarding) scholarly narrators, scholarly footnotes, Dickens as narrator, Dick Swiveller as speaker, and the poetic characteristic of condensing thoughts, all in his article titled "Verse Visa: Dickens Adapts Poetry in The Old Curiosity Shop," the composition of which was clearly a labor of love. Readers are free to draw their own conclusions.

Barnaby Rudge

Grip the raven is the featured character in two articles about Barnaby Rudge. Sonia Fanucchi proficiently explores "the uncanny and the absurd" aspects of Grip, in order to demonstrate that both aspects are "equally central to Dickens's portrayal … and that this is a result of its melodramatic and pantomimic features" (134). The actual exploration and demonstration are limited to pages 141–45, as the rest of "Devils, Kettles and Drama: Grip as Mystical Clown in Barnaby Rudge" meanders among such topics as theater, ritual, magic, melodrama, puppets, and Dickens's commentary on a stage production of Jason and Medea in 1855. Matthew Redmond's "If Bird or Devil: Meta-Plagiarism in 'The Raven'" discusses Edgar Allan Poe's two contemporary reviews of Barnaby Rudge (1841, 1842), partly to establish the specific features of Dickens's writing admired or faulted by Poe before Poe's composition of his poem "The Raven" (1845). In this context, Redmond considers selected literary critics' commentary on relationships between Grip the raven in Barnaby Rudge and Poe's "The Raven." Redmond then expands on these critiques regarding how, in Poe's case, "borrowed matter becomes the springboard to a self-conscious tracing of certain essential links (or gaps) between creativity and originality" (95). This is a refreshing, new, and convincing explication of how Poe achieved "great art" in "The Raven" (101). Toni Wein's focus is entirely different. In "Razing Gordon's Ghost" in her book Monstrous Fellowship: 'Pagan, Turk and Jew' in English Popular Culture, 1780–1845, she argues that Dickens chose to write about the Gordon Riots of 1780 in order "to secularize religion as he sentimentalizes politics" (265). She cautions that claims regarding Dickens's specific religious and political views purportedly found in Barnaby Rudge can often be refuted elsewhere in the novel, based on what she calls Dickens's "doubleness" (266), and she provides examples of this phenomenon. Although her book's other chapters examine "Pagan, Turk and Jew," she informs the reader that she chose to include a study of Barnaby Rudge because "[t]he absence of any overtly Jewish characters matters little; the novel provides a secret code of references that detects Jewishness behind narrative reality, long before Gordon yearns to convert" (269). [End Page 177]

Martin Chuzzlewit

It is difficult to imagine how any two authors could approach Martin Chuzzlewit in even greater contrasting ways. One researcher asserts fact, while the other asserts theory. "Charles Dickens, Cairo, and the Panic of 1837" presents Peter Pellizzari's findings after his examination of "pamphlets, letters, newspapers, and lithographs surrounding the development of Cairo [Illinois]" in order to account for what Dickens personally witnessed in 1842 and subsequently fictionalized as Eden in Martin Chuzzlewit (10). "'Business! Solidity! Publicity!': Speculation, Commodification, and Affect in Martin Chuzzlewit" presents Jasper Schelstraete's Marxist understanding of economic machinations in the novel, especially the fraudulent Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Assurance Company set up by Tigg Montague and David Crimple, as well as the fraudulent Eden Land Corporation set up by Zephaniah Scadder. Noteworthy is the scene in chapter 13 in which Martin pawns his gold hunting watch, thereby "stripping" the watch "of its chimeric associations and circumscribing it instead by a specific (and disappointingly low) monetary value," which makes the reader "aware of the dynamic of unreliable signification underlying commodity fetishism" (443). He concludes, "In both of the major plotlines that branch out of the episode in the pawnshop … it is materiality … which distorts the process of signification" (448). A third author, Caroline Wilkinson, focuses on Dickens's use of language in the novel. In "The Handmade Landscape: Manual Labor and the Construction of Eden in Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit," she ably links Dickens's pastoral rhetoric in the Eden scenes with Dickens's focus on rural laborers, noting that scholarship on the novel has either ignored or not noticed this important relationship. She retraces Martin Chuzzlewit and Mark Tapley's journey while revealing the "brutal knowledge that Dickens conveys in this pastoral" (344). While doing so, she briefly introduces supportive commentary, both original and researched, from "The Hymn of the Wilshire Laborers," The Village Coquettes, A Child's History of England, and, of course, American Notes.

Dombey and Son

Michael Tondre devotes one chapter of his book The Physics of Possibility: Victorian Fiction, Science, and Gender to Dombey and Son under the title "'A Nat'ral Born Friend': The Evolution of Community in Dombey and Son." He reviews Charles Darwin's evolving theories from the mid-1830s through 1871 (95–105) and then assesses Dombey and Son (1846–48) as a novel that "prefigures Darwin's understanding of moral and social variation in three ways: the novel grants the seeming self-evidence of interpersonal conflict; it then posits how nonreproductive individuals might offer an altruistic [End Page 178] alternative to it; and from that point, it elaborates a more encompassing vision of communal change that attests to the growth of new socialities" (115). While Tondre acknowledges that Dombey's lineage continues with his daughter Florence's son and daughter, he finds equally significant how Dickens "radically installs the infertile figures of [Solomon] Gills and [Captain Edward] Cuttle as embodiments of organic regeneration." Put differently, "Dickens's story enshrines the more wayward issues of its bachelors," that is, Gills and Cuttle, who eventually become "vital" to the novel through their fostering "the bonds between individuals and groups in multiplot fiction" (124–25).

David Copperfield

The sole article on David Copperfield is titled "David Copperfield and the Tradition of the Bildungsroman." Julia Kuehn disagrees with George Eliot's view of Dickens's novels as a failure in the "portrayal of realistic psychologies," which prevents his novels from achieving social reform (25). She also disagrees with Franco Moretti's classification of David Copperfield as a fairy tale, and with the limitations that Mikhail Bakhtin places on David Copperfield as a Bildungsroman. She reviews contemporary critiques that implicitly place the novel within the Bildungsroman tradition, adds her own analysis of David's education and maturation, and concludes that David's development "opens up questions and invites a critique of modern society and the individual's place in it" (44). Kuehn's analysis is both thoughtful and thorough.

Bleak House

The most often individually selected novel among Dickens studies in 2018 was Bleak House, with a total of eighteen publications. While some topics, such as religion and lawyers, have no counterparts, other topics can be grouped, such as ghostly echoing footsteps and disease. A good starting point is "Bleak House" in The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens. Kate Flint demonstrates her extensive knowledge of both Bleak House and critical commentary on the text. She succinctly explains that the "most productive critical approaches to Bleak House have a good deal in common: … they trace new patterns and connections through the text, and thus become a way of continually reorienting the reader—whether they address the law or evolution, gender and domesticity or sanitary reform, philanthropy or the aristocracy; or whether they deal with emotions (disappointment, frustration, hope) and the creation of affective responses in the reader, including patterns of sympathetic feeling; or whether they take topics, like concealment, deferral, and disclosure; hetero-glossia and repetition, [End Page 179] that link content and form" (220–21). While commentary on a novel for a handbook needs to include prior and even dated scholarship, Flint's original contributions are outstanding and praiseworthy. She posits that the novel deploys "a centrifugal framework that points away from the country" and provides and interprets examples that go beyond the previously studied importance of the relationship of the novel to the Great Exhibition of 1851 (225), which she then further supports with scholarship on postcolonial influences of the novel. Flint builds on previous studies of Bleak House, making her contribution to the Handbook exceptional. Simon Guerrier also considers the Great Exhibition in "Exhibition: Dickens and the Dinosaurs." He quotes from the first paragraph of Bleak House until he reaches Dickens's reference to a Megalosaurus, the size of which he states is significant in the novel, without commenting about anything specific to the novel. He reviews the exhibition "Charles Dickens: Man of Science" at the Charles Dickens Museum, with his only original commentary consisting of wondering why the exhibition does not mention Dickens's preface to Bleak House. Nicholas Lezard also quotes the novel's opening paragraph and identifies it as "one of the most famous opening scenes in all English fiction; perhaps even the most famous" (28) in his section titled "London, England. Charles Dickens. Bleak House (1852–53)," found in editor John Sutherland's Literary Landscapes: Charting the Worlds of Classic Literature. Lezard discusses impending and future sanitation problems in London (1854, 1858) before introducing Tom-all-Alone's through a second quotation. He then refers readers interested in locating London locations included in Bleak House to unidentified "countless books and articles which can tell you how to walk from one to the other" (31).

Three publications further consider Tom-all-Alone's and disease in Bleak House. Barbara Leckie places in her book Open Houses: Poverty, the Novel, and the Architectural Idea in Nineteenth-Century Britain a chapter titled "'The Ruined House': Charles Dickens's Bleak House." She focuses on "what is right before our eyes" in the novel's title, through which Dickens "teaches us to attend not only to the houses of the poor in London but also to a way of noticing what is right in front of us, of seeing and responding to relations, interpenetrations, and the openness of houses we are more accustomed to read in terms of depth, privacy, and secrets" (118). Her most extensive analysis identifies how Dickens's presentations of domesticity and family, philanthropy, and London slums "all share characteristics that capture, at once, the transformed space of the house under industrial modernity" as demonstrated in Bleak House, the brickmaker's house, and the slum [End Page 180] housing in London represented by Tom-all-Alone's (124). Leckie is equally insightful in her analysis of various architectural spaces depicted in the novel. Natalie Prizel in "Beside Women: Charles Dickens, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and Reparative Lesbian Literary History" probes details in Bleak House surrounding Jo's illness, which he passes to Esther Summerson's maid Charley Neckett, which she passes to Esther. While Esther is nursing Charley and then while Charley is nursing Esther, Esther forbids Ada Clare from personal contact with either, to lessen the risk of Ada's contracting the illness. "Esther presents the threat to Ada as a threat to herself and uses it as a threat against Charley in an act of triangulation between [sic] the three women." Prizel examines the meaning of "the refusal of touch" concerning Ada, Charley's sitting beside Esther, Charley's touching Esther, and Esther's subsequent unveiling of her face to Ada (278). She rejects "the rubric of the Victorian romantic friendship" because "the merge of subjectivities that occurs between the women [Esther and Ada] exceeds that of the romantic friendship trope and suggests, if not a sexual relationship per se, a lesbian literary and erotic structure" (279). She also cross-references aspects of Algernon Charles Swinburne's poem "The Leper" within her consideration of Bleak House (277–80). Jo is one of "Dickens's Supernumeraries," a chapter title in Emily Steinlight's book Populating the Novel: Literary Form and the Politics of Surplus Life. She primarily considers supernumeraries in Bleak House, from Jo to the police to all the minor characters to, figuratively, all the unmentioned characters in the novel who populate the novel's settings. She quotes from generations of scholars who have studied Dickens's novels from the aspects of "the sprawl of these chaotic public worlds and mismanaged institutions" (113). Regarding Bleak House, she determines that the "concept of the supernumerary is elemental to the novel's effort to mediate a social order in which containment strategies govern the city" (119), which leads to her analysis of the mistreatment of Jo. She explains how Dickens's inclusion of a communicable disease is less about the need for sanitation and more about commonalities among all levels of society, regardless of any character's residence. She concludes with a short account of the role of modern policing in both the novel and London itself as witnessed by Dickens, and there is every reason to believe that Steinlight could write an equally informative and cogent chapter about this topic, as well.

Pete Newbon's chapter "Farewell to Skimpole: Romantic Boy-Men and Canonical Occlusion," from his book The Boy-Man, Masculinity and Immaturity in the Long Nineteenth Century, contains a section on Dickens (292–99), which is well-researched, but reads more like an encyclopedia [End Page 181] entry that identifies key sources and their ideas on the topic of six boy-men who are examined collectively through Harold Skimpole in Bleak House. Newbon does not present any original analysis. Original analysis is also absent in "Human Relationships in Charles Dickens' Bleak House" by K. Shantikumar Sharma and H. Shimreingam. The authors publish as an essay that is actually a compilation of researched quotations about multiple aspects of Bleak House, interspersed with quotations from the novel and summaries of the novel's plot. The authors neither demonstrate firsthand knowledge of the text nor reach any original conclusions.

An interesting yet incomplete chapter titled "Organizing Things in Dickens: Comprehension and Narrative Form" is found in Elaine Auyoung's book When Fiction Feels Real: Representation and the Reading Mind. She studies two aspects of Bleak House, Dickens's use of lists and his "causally related structures found in many works of realist fiction" (63). Regarding the former, she points out that memory of either particular items or everything in any of Dickens's lists is unnecessary, as Dickens groups the items within a category that, in itself, is recognizable and can be remembered with comparative ease. Although both of the novel's narrators create lists, Auyoung limits her focus to the existence of lists apart from narrative considerations. Regarding the latter, she finds that "Bleak House seeks to depict a fictional world in which things exceed the scale of what is comfortable for individual bodies" (78), and that Dickens "illustrates how representational strategies test—and are tested by—constraints on a reader's capacity to process narrative information" (79). Auyoung, at least in part, is writing for "undergraduate readers of Bleak House" (78), and, unfortunately, she does not consider how the various theories of comprehension that she cites apply to Dickens's known set of readers of monthly serialized installments and, when reading aloud, their listeners, who, as Malcolm Andrews explains in "Dickens and the Serial Flâneur" (see Adaptations above), had a month between each two numbers to read, reread, hear, and rehear each number's text, including all of the lists that Auyoung identifies. Do theorists allow for Dickens's knowledge of his readers and for his readers themselves?

Two additional publications address narration in Bleak House. Toru Sasaki's article "How Dickens Conceived Esther's Narrative: An Hypothesis" speculates that Dickens transferred his conception of a Christmas number of Household Words, written collaboratively, to the composition of Bleak House, in which Dickens figuratively collaborated with his character Esther Summerson as alternating narrators. Allan Conrad Christensen's chapter "Reading/Misreading: Epistolary Proposals of Marriage in Dickens's Bleak House and Eliot's Middlemarch" in his book Darwinian Nature and Artistic Texts: Essays on Making/Unmaking proposes that Esther Summerson, as an [End Page 182] unreliable narrator, turns readers into misreaders throughout her entire narration. Christensen provides detailed commentary on letter writing and letter reading as part of his explanation.

Four publications assess in varying ways the roles of graveyards, the Ghost's Walk, footsteps, and echoes. Ruth Doherty's article "'Blest' or 't'othered': Alternative Graveyards in Bleak House, Reynolds, and Walker" contrasts Dickens's writing style with that of George W. M. Reynolds, in that both authors write about graveyards in their respective novels Bleak House and The Mysteries of London (serialized and then published in book form starting in 1844). Doherty briefly compares these fictional accounts with sanitary reform advocate George Alfred Walker's nonfictional account in Gatherings from Grave Yards (1839). Her goal is to recreate for the reader "what it may have been like to read" Bleak House when it was first serialized, at least for readers who had already read The Mysteries of London and Gatherings from Grave Yards (284). Allan Conrad Christensen's chapter "The Upright/Fallen Woman: Manzoni's I promessi sposi and Dickens's Bleak House," also from Darwinian Nature and Artistic Texts, examines the relationship between Esther Summerson and her mother Lady Dedlock from "the evolutionary principle of the Darwinian struggle whereby some forms of life die so that life can endure" (173), in this case both literally and figuratively. His interpretation of the ghostly footsteps heard at Chesney Wold, Sir Leicester Dedlock's estate, is particularly notable (177–78), as is Céline Prest's interpretation in "Echo as Writing in Bleak House by Charles Dickens: Lady Dedlock's Testament." She considers what Dickens intended to communicate indirectly to readers of Bleak House through his references to literal and figurative echoes at Chesney Wold. Robert E. Lougy's contribution to this topic is the most far-reaching of all, at least chronologically. In "Entangled Paths and Ghostly Resonances: Bleak House and Oedipus Rex," he first makes clear that his analysis of Bleak House is not dependent on Dickens's being "almost certainly familiar with Sophocles's most famous play" (382). He then pinpoints where and explains precisely how Dickens utilizes motifs from Oedipus Rex in Bleak House. An intriguing example of Dickens's providing an original rendering of "the voice of a mysterious cultural past that makes itself felt by virtue of the pressures it exerts on Dickens's novel" (382) is found in how the "three ages identified by the riddle in Oedipus—'child, adult, old man'—collapse or bleed into one another, throwing [the novel's] world into chaos and confusion" (388). Lougy's study certainly transcends his initial concern of addressing why "Prince Turveydrop and his daughter need to suffer" in a grim novel that already portrays an ample share of suffering characters (379). His analysis is original and compelling. [End Page 183]

Three additional studies of Bleak House remain. In "Tulkinghorn and Professional Responsibility in Bleak House," Brenda Welch grounds her analysis of the lawyer Tulkinghorn in Bleak House (1852–53) in legal history that predates the novel, and, so, leads to a legal history of the 1840s and 1850s. She scrutinizes Tulkinghorn and Lady Dedlock's contractual relationship in light of England's understanding of the lawyer-client relationship in general and what qualifies as "overreaching by a lawyer," in order to determine "how Victorians viewed the law, lawyers, and the legal system" (56). She reaches the reasonable conclusion that lawyers, including the fictionalized Tulkinghorn, were members of a profession that had "no clearly defined concept of what its duty actually is or to whom it is owed." Dickens demonstrates that "[l]egalists need to be educated about this rather basic concept before the rest of their education … acquires any real meaning within the context of the nation's social changes" (59–60). In "Fashion, Fashionable Intelligence, and the Victorian Novel: The Versatile Case of Bleak House," Sumiao Li is interested in fashion's relationship to characterization, thematic development, narrative structure, and linguistic construction in British Victorian novels. Her knowledge of Victorian fashion is extensive, and her analytical approach can likely be applied to fashion references in any Victorian novel. She provides ample evidence that details regarding multiple facets of fashion are "rich and dynamic" in Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, and Anthony Trollope (24), and she demonstrates this primarily in Bleak House. It is worth mentioning that her dissertation Fashionable People, Fashionable Society: Fashion, Gender, and Print Culture in England 1821–1861 (2008) also includes The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend. Finally, in "Neither High-Church, Low-Church, nor No-Church: Religious Dissatisfaction and Dissent in Bleak House," Christian Dickinson ably critiques Dickens's portrayal of religion in Bleak House. He explains that "Dickens wants readers to have an unsympathetic view of the church" through having "the church treat those we care about poorly" and through having it "treat with 'reverential awe' the characters we do not sympathize with as readers" (356). He further demonstrates that "Dickens's view of the family holds true—those who embody an authentic Christianity have happy homes, those whose homes are miserable are governed by religious hypocrisy—the one never exists without the other" (363). Dickinson's approach can serve as a model for comparable analyses of other novels in which Dickens places an emphasis on Christian charity. [End Page 184]

Hard Times

Many, if not most, readers of Hard Times will be surprised to learn that the novel is boring, or, put differently, "an experimental failure, a cop-out, or an anomaly in Dickens's broader corpus" (403). In "Getting Bored with Hard Times," Kailana Durnan places more confidence in any reader's own judgment than in that of scholarly critics who inform readers of what their judgment should or must be. She explains how she is more open-minded, in that "Hard Times marks an important moment in a history of literature grappling with the concept of tedium … Dickens's technique is notable for its simultaneous subtlety and depth; his treatment of boredom is sweeping and heuristic, so that boredom in form and content collude to engage the reader in a frustration with the status quo while suggesting a unity within and between the novel's disparate cast of characters and its diverse readership" (404). For those among the novel's diverse readers who do, in fact, find Hard Times lacking in any capacity that counters or transcends boredom, Durnan makes a solid case for admiring Dickens's skill as a writer in this novel, too.

Little Dorrit

Three authors were drawn to Little Dorrit in three distinct ways. First, Michael C. Prusse in "Echoes of Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit in Ernest Hemingway's 'A Canary for One'" establishes perhaps as well as anyone can that Ernest Hemingway could have read Little Dorrit. However, in order to accommodate all of Prusse's evidence that the opening paragraphs of Hemingway's short story "distinctly allude to the beginning and certain themes of Little Dorrit" (225), it would have been necessary for Hemingway either to have undertaken a close reading of Little Dorrit immediately prior to composing "A Canary for One" or to have used his copy of Little Dorrit as a reference book while composing his short story. The article contains intriguing points of comparison, with only the conclusion being problematic. Second, Regenia Gagnier in "Dickens's Little Dorrit as a Total Environment," a section of her book Literatures of Liberalization: Global Circulation and the Long Nineteenth Century, states that Dickens serialized Little Dorrit "at a key moment of capitalist modernity" (169). She explains how this novel presents a romantic view of nature that contrasts with a realistic view of culture. She argues that Mr. Merdle, the financier and swindler, "represents money that makes money out of money, capitalism, with its restless growth, mobility, globalization, homelessness," which makes perfect sense from the Marxist lens that she uses to support her metaphor [End Page 185] (175). She concludes with a brief consideration of the role of hope in the novel, which is best explained by understanding hope as an evolutionary process that manifests itself in a "developmental niche," constructed at the individual level, with Amy Dorrit as the best such developer in the novel (178). Finally, Giovanna Ligugnana in "Unrepresented and 'Circumlocuted' People: Public Institutions and Citizens in Dickens' Little Dorrit" examines "the slow and gradual development" (55) of governmental response to societal problems caused by industrialization during Dickens's lifetime (54–59), Dickens's membership in the Administrative Reform Association (59–60), the fictional Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit (61–64), and the fictionalized version and role of London's Marshalsea Prison for debtors in Little Dorrit (65–69). The text, endnotes, and citations are quite useful to anyone with little or no familiarity with these topics.

A Tale of Two Cities

Four of the five publications about A Tale of Two Cities are concerned with Dickens's acknowledged and possible sources for the novel. In "Resurrecting the Past: Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens," Chad May explores how Dickens "mirrors Scott's own interest in the relationship between historical recreation and the gothic" in A Tale of Two Cities (264) and posits that Scott's historical fiction may have influenced Dickens's own "managing the inexplicable in history," specifically the violence of the French Revolution (262). Dickens's originality consists of his seeking "to encompass and redeem historical suffering in the movement forward through time," through both Sydney Carton's sacrifice of his life for Charles Darnay and Carton's "secular repetition of the central sacrifice of the New Testament" (272).

Hayley Rudkin and Jonathan Potter are more interested in Dickens's acknowledged source, The French Revolution: A History by Thomas Carlyle. In the chapter titled "Inorganic Bodies, Longing to Become Organic: Hunger and Environment in Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution," in Victorian Environments, Rudkin reports that "when it comes to describing the experience of hunger as a point of mediation between people, or between people and their environments, Dickens's novel differs significantly from Carlyle's history." She notes that Dickens's portrayal of hunger "is very closely related to digestive processes" in motivating action, which she supports with examples (224). Dickens portrays "starving bodies of the populace" at times even without using the word hunger, which she interprets as equating the physical significance and the political significance of the need for food (226). Jonathan Potter, in a chapter titled "The Dissolving View and the Historical Imagination" in his book Discourses of Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain, [End Page 186] contemplates relationships among literally dissolving views used in magic lantern shows, and figuratively intertextual dissolving views from A Tale of Two Cities (1859) back to Edward Bulwer-Lytton's Zanoni (1842) back to Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution (1837). Potter concludes, in part, that "[t]he metaphorical dissolving view's relation to instability, irrationality, and revolution seems relatively clear in these texts" (101). Moreover, "the final effect of the dissolving view metaphor" creates a paradox. "The instability of the metaphor is the instability of the subject. Objectivity is thus a repression, not elimination, of the subjective, and, as it becomes ever more distinct, it melts more rapidly into subjective situatedness" (101–02). In the context of A Tale of Two Cities, the novel's first sentence consists of contradictions that are asserted with "objective historical certainty, but the greater their certainty, the more they dissolve into uncertainty and contradiction" (102). Matthew Crofts reopens the case of plot similarities in "Dickens's Gothic Double: A Tale of Two Cities and Watts Phillips's The Dead Heart." He argues that similarities between Dickens's novel (1859) and Phillips's play (1859) are far more likely coincidental than that either author plagiarized or otherwise borrowed content from the other. Accusations against Dickens originate with Phillips and actor/manager Benjamin Webster's insistence that Phillips wrote and sold The Dead Heart to Webster in 1857, and with Webster's claim that Dickens read the manuscript in Webster's presence before Webster decided to rehearse the play in October 1859, with its premiere at the New Theatre Royal, Adelphi, on 10 November 1859. Gregory Vargo considers the novel from its portrayal of refugees in his chapter "Two Nations Revisited: The Refugee Question in the People's Paper, Household Words, and Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities," found in his book An Underground History of Early Victorian Fiction: Chartism, Radical Print Culture, and the Social Problem Novel. He explores the possibility that Dickens "adapts contemporary controversies around foreigners in England" in A Tale of Two Cities (217). At the very least, "the novel depicts refugees in terms familiar from post-1848 treatments of political exiles in Britain, which used their presence to distinguish British liberalism and stability from European extremism and upheaval. The novel highlights how England welcomes refugees of all politics" (218–19). The novel concludes with England's representation as "a refuge from the tumult of France" (225).

Great Expectations

After Bleak House, Great Expectations received the most attention among the studies of individual novels during 2018. Eight of the ten publications are notable for either their topics, their findings, or both. The other [End Page 187] two publications find extraordinary similarities between Dickens's novel and another novel, beginning with "The Unexpected Kinship of Great Expectations and Wuthering Heights" by Alan P. Barr, who makes no claim that Dickens read Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847) and was later influenced by it when writing Great Expectations. Rather, he presents parallels in artistic genius, with quotations and discerning commentary. Parallels include the moors of Yorkshire and the marshes of Kent, Wuthering Heights and Satis House, Heathcliff and Pip as orphans, the use of multiple names for the same character, the identification of "love with pain and jealousy, dynamics that are colored by a sadism that is unrelieved by fantasies of joy or pleasure" (78), and much more. This essay is thought-provoking and a pleasure to read. In "Ambivalence of Identity as an Extension of Colonial Discourse in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger," Göksel Kaya demonstrates how Dickens's novel and The White Tiger (2008) can be interpreted in a manner that supports, primarily, Homi K. Bhabha's postcolonial theory in The Location of Culture (1994), namely in the understanding of Abel Magwitch's societal and legal positions and corresponding consequences in England and Australia, and in the understanding of Balram Halwai's comparable positions and consequences in India, the latter with the additional textual layering of India's former colonial status before Balram's time. Bhabha's conceptualization of mimicry is additionally engaging. Kaya concludes that the purpose of both novels "is to give voice to the oppressed who struggle for a better life so as to seize a place in the newly-established world order," which for Pip and Herbert consists of monetary success as "imperial traders" and for Balram of opening his own taxi company in India (35).

The remaining publications concern friendship, courtly love, guilt, moral dualism, an implied author, gender constraints in storytelling, spelling books, and cobwebs. George E. Haggerty's book Queer Friendship: Male Intimacy in the English Literary Tradition contains a section titled "Friendship and Marriage in Great Expectations." Haggerty analyzes the concept of friendship in Great Expectations both to demonstrate that "the ways Dickens has employed it have been under-theorized" and to establish a scholarly foundation that "may point to some later configuration of desires that was not yet culturally available to Dickens or his readers" (121–22). He examines Pip's friendships with Joe Gargery and Herbert Pocket, with a particular emphasis on Herbert's nursing of Pip from the injuries he incurred in the burning of Satis House. He finds that "this amazing emphasis on love and care between men can also be seen as a fulfillment of the friendship dynamic at work here. That is not to distinguish friendship [End Page 188] from the homoerotic but to claim that friendship always harbors erotic potential. Platonic friendship explains this erotic potential: friendship can be understood to extend male intimacy in the surprising physical dimensions that these scenes of care suggest" (132). Haggerty also argues that Pip and Herbert could not discuss their respective loves for Estella and Clara "if they were not the intimate friends they are" (134). Haggerty carefully presents the extent to which his analysis overlaps with other scholarship, builds on that scholarship, and charts new territory. Nic Panagopoulos in "Courtly Love in Great Expectations" undertakes a psychoanalytic study of courtly love, as depicted in Great Expectations, particularly as it applies to Pip and Estella's relationship. However, likely to the frustration of some readers, he omits any psychoanalytic meaning of Dickens's original ending of the novel. Two additional features are the analysis of Miss Havisham's role within courtly love, and selected excerpts by Dickens in which he charmingly uses courtly language, even apart from passages in the novel. Guilt is considered by Joseph H. Clarke in "The Meta-psychology of Guilt and Redemption: A Case Study of Dickens's Pip." He designates Pip as "one of the most guilt-laden characters in English literature" (1), after which he uses Habib Davanloo's 1990 model published in Unlocking the Unconscious: Selected Papers of Habib Davanloo to locate the epicenter of Pip's complex guilt, which proves to be "the reality that he both loves and hates his sister" (18). Clarke credits Dickens with a "profound understanding of the unconscious" (7). Sarah Comyn critiques the novel from the lens of moral dualism in her chapter "A Marginal Life in Great Expectations," found in her book Political Economy and the Novel: A Literary History of "Homo Economicus." She asserts that moral dualism accounts for various characters' "multiple identities" and "is, therefore, expressive of the anxieties surrounding the binary of the dominant, amoral, rational man in capitalist society [i.e., homo economicus], and the residual morality of the private sphere" (95). She cites assertions from Karl Marx and adeptly applies and explains them within the context of the novel; however, she seems less knowledgeable of John Stuart Mill's writings, in that she relies more on commentary about Mills's views, instead of providing her own commentary to the same extent as she does with Marx's writings.

In Elzem Nazli and Elif Öztabak Avci's article "A Rhetorical Narratological Approach to the Treatment of Crime and Criminals in Great Expectations," the authors utilize the theory of the "implied author," as distinguished from the narrator Pip, in exploring how Dickens communicates with readers of Great Expectations in the scenes with Abel Magwitch, Compeyson, and Mr. Jaggers's housekeeper Molly. Their analysis includes interpreting the [End Page 189] distance between the narrator and the characters and evaluating the extent to which the characters contrast with each other, leading the authors to conclude that perspectives of the implied author and the narrator are quite similar. Significantly, the implied author does not permit Molly to speak for herself, which simultaneously limits Pip's ability as the narrator, being reduced to recording what Mr. Jaggers and John Wemmick say on behalf of Molly. The authors also conclude that the historical Dickens and the author Dickens differ, but maintain a close relationship. Laura Otis, in her now published 2015 lecture, The Fantastic World of Nineteenth-Century Women's Emotions: Two Literary Portrayals, explores how Dickens intentionally and artistically creates difficulties for readers to experience and sympathize with a particular character's emotions. She draws attention to the fact that, "[a]lthough Miss Havisham speaks at length, the reader never sees through her eyes the cruel act that has left her so embittered. In Dickens's evocative depictions of the heiress, he invites the reader to simulate sensations—but they are Pip's, not the miserable old woman's" (25). Dickens further complicates the reader's ability to experience pity for Miss Havisham because she herself forcefully demands pity from everyone else. The reader's feelings are limited to Pip's feelings, which only gradually alter through "painful growth." In other words, "Pip has the opportunity to stress the difference between what he knew then and what he knows now" (32). Otis grounds Dickens's depiction of Miss Havisham in the nineteenth-century belief that women were ruled by passion. Dickens chose to probe the consequences of a woman ruled by the passion anger. Otis's lecture is intelligent and estimable.

Liwen Zhang's article "Great Expectations and Dickens's Spelling Book Predicament" is not quite as groundbreaking as intended. Zhang begins with the premise that "previous scholarship … has not adequately examined the connections between [Herbert Pocket's calling Pip] 'Handel' and Dickens's passing comment on spelling books" in chapter 22. In order to examine "the complex intertextuality between Dickens's novels and spelling books" (2), Zhang searches Dickens's novels for his source, finds a promising lead, and concludes, "It is hard to speculate what Dickens meant by 'antiquated' spelling books in Nicholas Nickleby." Zhang then presents the equivalent of over five pages on the history of English "spelling books, reading primers and juvenile reading books" through 1868 (3). Dickens's boyhood knowledge of the second chapter of Lindley Murray's English Grammar (1795) has already been established by Harry Stone in his 1955 dissertation Dickens's Readings. Stone identifies an instance in Nicholas Nickleby in which Squeers manages "to mangle a passage taken directly from that book" (147–48). [End Page 190] While there is no reason to expect that Zhang should be familiar with this dissertation, it is cited here for anyone who pursues the article's topic as it applies to Dickens's life or literature. The rest of the article presents a thoughtful argument against understanding the novel as a moral fable with Jo Gargery at the moral center. Multiple examples from the text are provided to illustrate Zhang's contention that "Dickens is resisting not just the fairy-tale message, but more importantly the fairy-tale form altogether. Great Expectations is more of a non-fairy-tale … for it allows its characters to recount and interpret their own stories, instead of fitting them into singular roles typical of fairy-tale characters" (13). Lastly, Allan Conrad Christensen likens literal and figurative cobwebs and needlework in Great Expectations to the making of texts, a particular product of Darwinian evolution in his chapter "Writing/Unwriting: Bulwer's The Caxtons and A Strange Story and Dickens's Great Expectations" from his book Darwinian Nature and Artistic Texts.

Our Mutual Friend

Demonstrating yet again the wealth of topics that Dickens offers to readers and scholars alike, four authors focus on philanthropy, alcohol consumption, tables, and care communities, respectively, in their essays on Our Mutual Friend. In "Redefining the Urban Philanthropy: Charity and Home in Our Mutual Friend," Lauren Wilwerding studies the roles of begging letters, domestic orderliness, and charity in Our Mutual Friend within the broader context of contemporary journalism on urban needs, including Dickens's own philanthropy. She reports that the novel contains a richer advocacy of practical solutions beginning inside urban homes themselves than has previously been noticed in scholarship. In "Regulating Alcohol Consumption and Structuring Life in Dickens's Our Mutual Friend," Darin Graber begins with an account of public and private perspectives on alcohol consumption as a public health issue, along with corresponding legislation in 1830, 1839, 1854, and 1855. This results in a satisfactory background for considering Dickens's views regarding regulated alcohol consumption in Our Mutual Friend, albeit restricted to the confines of the Six Jolly Fellowship-Porters. Graber argues that Dickens himself is unclear about the consequences of legislation, of a proprietor's decision-making authority, and of "any given individual's ability to practice self-control" (132). Meanwhile, Helena Michie evaluates the role of tables, with their uses and symbolic significations in her chapter "Extra Man: Dining Out beyond the Marriage Plot in Our Mutual Friend" in Replotting Marriage in Nineteenth-Century British Literature. She does so in the context of bachelor Melvin Twemlow's life, which bears [End Page 191] some striking similarities to the life of Sir George Scharf, purportedly an acquaintance of Dickens. As a bachelor, "Twemlow is both odd man out and a social necessity" (228), which may prove true, as well, for Scharf, should his life be further studied. In "Disabling Marriage: Communities of Care in Our Mutual Friend," also from Replotting Marriage in Nineteenth-Century British Literature, Talia Schaffer breaks down the concept of a care community into its general qualities, specific power structures, and manifestations within opposite extremes. She usefully redefines marriage in order to capture relationships similar to that of marriage among subsets of care communities. She is exceptionally well-read, which is evinced by her wide array of aptly chosen allusions that support her assertion of the prevalence of care communities in Victorian fiction.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

In addition to Pete Orford's overview and categorization of adaptations of Dickens's last novel in The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Charles Dickens' Unfinished Novel and Our Endless Attempts to End It (see Adaptations above), and an entry in the reference book The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens, there are two additional contributions to Edwin Drood scholarship. One is titled "Dickens and Southey: The Mystery of Edwin Drood and The Curse of Kehama," written by Giles Whiteley. He offers two ways in which Dickens may have consciously been inspired by Robert Southey when writing the first number of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. First, he accepts Susan Shatto's observation "that both of the names of Dickens's murderer seem to have been based on his reading one of Southey's ballads, 'Jaspar,'" without establishing that Dickens had read, or was likely to have read, and remembered (or consulted for ideas) this particular poem by Southey (263). Second, he does establish that Dickens owned and, on 9 February 1839, was reading Southey's The Curse of Kehama, which he argues Dickens "quotes, if briefly and silently, from the eighth book" in the opening paragraph of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (264). Whiteley concludes "that we know that Dickens was rereading his Southey during the period of the composition of the novel," which is actually an unsupported conclusion (265). The other essay is a chapter titled "Who Murdered Edwin Drood? Charles Dickens and Physiognomics," from Eike Kronshage's book Vision and Character: Physiognomics and the English Realist Novel. Kronshage applies physiognomic theory to an analysis of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and concludes that (1) Edwin Drood is not a realist novel according to the theory's definitional requirements, and (2) physiognomic theory reveals nothing about Dickens's characters as portrayed by text and illustrations, because Dickens writes from an anti-physiognomics [End Page 192] stance, which he applied equally to his oversight of the novel's illustrations. Commentary on the serialized front wrapper's illustration is omitted; presumably, Dickens's stance extended to those illustrations, as well.

other writings

Among Dickens's other writings, there are analyses of five titles, along with a possibly overlooked anonymous newspaper review published in The Morning Chronicle in 1834. Two works concern American Notes, while Sketches by Boz received the most analysis, including the ongoing study of the sketches' original texts, all readily available now for over five years. The remaining titles are The Cricket on the Hearth, "Holiday Romance," and "The Signal-Man."

American Notes

An outstanding addition to the study of American Notes is Richard H. Allen's Reed Brown's 1841 Journey: America through the Eyes of a Vermont Yankee. Reed Briggs Brown (1810–78) was a blacksmith and inventor from Vermont, and he kept a journal from late 1837 through 1865, albeit intermittently. The journal is now held by the Williston Historical Society in Williston, Vermont. Richard Allen has published Brown's entries from 22 September through 20 November 1841, when Brown traveled from Vermont to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Ohio, before returning home. Allen informatively interweaves Brown's accounts with other contemporary accounts, including a generous set of excerpts from the following year's American Notes by Dickens. For instance, Brown wrote from Washington, D.C., "Ben to see if my [patent] Papers are redey. Can't git them till 4 oclock. Went to dinner then to see the President [John Tyler], but he was not at home. Vewed the house And it is nott as nise as I expectted. Thare is a verry nise yard around it which is shaded and laid out in the handsomes maner." Allen briefly introduces President Tyler and then continues, "It was just a matter of bad timing that Reed was not able to meet with President Tyler. Charles Dickens did visit the 'President's mansion' twice during his 1842 Washington stay," after which he quotes Dickens's own description of the grounds (45). Allen is to be commended for perseverance and success in his research, his documentation, and his abundance of illustrations, which include a "side view of a wagon body with springs attached" from Brown's patent drawing (40); an 1839 woodcut of Pittsburgh, as Brown and Dickens would have seen the city (58); and an 1841 sketch of a canal boat (63). Diana C. Archibald is the author of the introduction to a [End Page 193] new edition of American Notes. She addresses her introduction to readers who know little about Dickens's life, likely recognizing only "Bah, humbug!" and "God bless us, every one" during the Christmas season, and some who possibly have read A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectation, or Bleak House. She writes, "We don't often think of Dickens as a young man. It's silly, of course; obviously, he was young once, but that is not the dominant image" (xi). She reviews nineteenth-century travel writing published prior to American Notes, followed by the topics "Celebrity and the American Press," "Nineteenth-Century Travel and Tourism," "Immigration," "Anglo-American Relations," "American Exceptionalism and Politics," and "Slavery and Genocide." She asserts that "it was during his trip to America that he first came face to face with his own celebrity" (xiii), that in American Notes "two types of immigrants appear: the lost and the hopeful" (xviii), and that Dickens's "portrayal of African Americans at times smacks of a deep and wholly unselfconscious racism" (xxvi).

The Cricket on the Hearth

In his article "Chaucer on the Hearth," David Raybin establishes the likelihood that Dickens attentively read publisher Edward Moxon's presentation copy of The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer between 1843 and 1845, and then presents "solid evidence that Dickens drew heavily on the Merchant's Tale in developing his new approach to January-May relationships in Cricket" (3). His evidence consists of parallels in language, plot, and plot structure. Two additional features of this article are Raybin's explanation of how Dickens's study of "The Merchant's Tale" further improved Dickens's rhetorical technique, and Raybin's appraisal of Dickens's "freer development of the January-May theme" in the characters of Dr. Strong and Mrs. Annie Strong in David Copperfield (16–17).

"Holiday Romance"

Beatrice Moja has authored a major contribution to the study of Dickens's writings for children in her article "Charles Dickens and the Child Narrator: Literary and Sociolinguistic Reflections on A Holiday Romance (1868)." She first reviews Dickens's credentials for creating authentic children's narrative voices in "Holiday Romance," after which she demonstrates how Dickens has his narrators "express themselves by using the stylistic rules of baby talk, a sociolinguistic register used by children in real life" (40). Dickens then comically broadens the children's voices through their portrayals of "imaginary worlds" while pretending to be adult narrators, resulting in their [End Page 194] use of "literary tropes and linguistic registers in an incorrect or exaggerated fashion" (41).

Newspaper Review

William F. Long makes a compelling case for Dickens as author of a theatrical review in "A Case for Dickens's Authorship of an Unattributed Theatrical Review." The anonymous critique was published in The Morning Chronicle the day after the first performance of A Friend in Need was given at the Olympic Theatre in London on 13 October 1834. Long helpfully includes a reprint of the lengthy review, so that readers can not only follow his analysis but also reach their own conclusions.

Sketches by Boz

William F. Long's investigation of newspapers is momentous in "Dickens before Sketches by Boz: Earliest Reactions to His Earliest Works." He presents his yeoman's service in adding to previously accounted for published excerpts from Dickens's sketches prior to their revision and publication in their altered versions as Sketches by Boz. Of equal importance are Long's additions to previously accounted for reviews of the as yet unaltered sketches. His table of reviews is straightforward and invaluable (176–78). Moreover, in regard to those as yet unaltered sketches, he meticulously examines "The Parlour" in its neglected original version in order to assess Dickens's changes to the text when republished in the version typically considered by scholars in Sketches by Boz. His findings appear in "Radicals in 'The Parlour': John Arthur Roebuck and the Politics of an 1835 Sketch." Matthew Ingleby explores the roles of three of Dickens's sketches among fiction about London's Bloomsbury district in his book Nineteenth-Century Fiction and the Production of Bloomsbury, which is intended to explain "how the West Central London district known as Bloomsbury underwent a gradual transformation in the nineteenth century from social marginality to intellectual centrality, which was mediated through fiction" (1). Dickens's first contribution to such fiction is titled "The Bloomsbury Christening" and was published in the April 1834 issue of The Monthly Magazine. Ingleby writes, "The fictional representation of Bloomsbury dinner parties from the 1820s to the late 1840s was an important means by which the shifting class structure of the period could be articulated, via the redefinition of a hyper-modern metropolitan district in which social mobility was unusually legible" (45). Some contemporary fiction, along with newspaper reviews of that fiction, supported or attacked "Bloomsbury and its forms of domestic [End Page 195] social entertainment." Ingleby assesses "The Bloomsbury Christening" as a subversion of "the anti-Bloomsbury trope of the disastrous dinner party … in order to turn the satire back upon those that originated it" (60).

In "The Boarding House" and "The Boarding House No. II," published in The Monthly Magazine's issues for May and August 1834, Dickens "continually makes us aware of the Bloomsbury house itself as a kind of agent in the narrative. It intrudes into the lives of the inhabitants, through the kinds of undesired communication its badly constructed walls and ceilings permit." Moreover, the house "militates against the Tibbs's marriage even as it also acts as a sort of matchmaker to the guests, by throwing them together in the first place" (89). Ingleby's summaries of both short stories' plots support his conclusions.

Studies of Sketches by Boz are not limited to individual or small groupings of sketches. In "'Drop the Curtain': Astonishment and the Anxieties of Authorship in Charles Dickens's Sketches by Boz," Christina Jen shares a wealth of examples from the book versions of Sketches by Boz to demonstrate the frequency with which Dickens "produces astonishment in his characters (and for the readers of his text)" by utilizing theatrical language, even to the extent of transforming the commonplace to the extraordinary, all in a conscious effort to establish and maintain a readership (254). Her article makes for insightful and enjoyable reading. Christiane Schwab's article "The Transforming City in Nineteenth-Century Literary Journalism: Ramón de Mesonero Romanos' 'Madrid Scenes' and Charles Dickens' 'Street Sketches'" is accurate as far as comparing some of Dickens's sketches to comparable "sketches" by Mesonero Romanos, also written in the 1830s. Her article is marred, however, by incorrect terminology. The title's reference to "Street Sketches" has nothing to do with Dickens's set of five "Street Sketches" published in the The Morning Chronicle in 1834. Rather, she writes that Dickens "successfully launched his 'Street sketches' in various London newspapers and magazines between 1833 and 1835" (227), making identification of what she deems to be "street sketches" impossible until she presents each one throughout the course of her article. Further, she seems not to know that the sketches she selects were not published in magazines. She analyzes "Thoughts about People" (The Evening Chronicle), "Shabby-Genteel People" (The Morning Chronicle), "The Streets—Morning" (The Evening Chronicle), and "Gin Shops" (The Evening Chronicle). One wonders if, say, "The Streets at Night," "Meditations in Monmouth-Street," and the remaining four "Street Sketches," as named by Dickens, either warrant their own commentary or have been omitted for not supporting Schwab's analysis. Jonathan Potter significantly contributes to scholarship on Sketches [End Page 196] by Boz in his chapter "The Panorama and Simultaneity: The Panoramic Desire to See Everything at Once," found in his book Discourses of Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain. He presents the historical development of panoramas and analyzes Sketches by Boz as one of its literary equivalents (35–42), which he declares an advancement over Pierce Egan's 1821 publication of Life in London; or, The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom, Accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in Their Rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis, also considered by Mary L. Shannon in Biographies above. Potter comments, "Sketches by Boz refined and repopularised the genre for a growing middle-class audience. The sketch genre, linked to the static panorama, compiled a series of 'views' (usually urban) into a comprehensive (i.e., 'panoramic') picture of the subject." While Egan attempts to provide readers with a complete picture, Dickens "allows his sketches to converge or diverge according to the views and themes they present" (37). Nonetheless, Dickens still finds ways to achieve a structured presentation through his groupings of his sketches, in particular among the twenty-five "scenes," as revised and grouped for book publication. As Potter explains, "The viewpoint of the reader, then, is from a particular social class and grouping looking out upon London society—a society which can be stratified and catalogued into discrete groups" (38). Potter demonstrates this with passages from various sketches and concludes that the "imaginary is subsumed into the panoramic representation of the city, but by going beyond the physical details of the visible, Sketches by Boz suggests that there are limitations to the knowledge offered even by the panorama, that a truly comprehensive view requires an understanding of the way physical reality is subjectively experienced" (40). This is a remarkable analysis.

"The Signal-man"

Anne Chapman, in "'I am not going on': Negotiating Christmas Publishing Rhythms with Dickens's Mugby Junction," skillfully gives the reader an organized sense of Dickens's writing and publishing responsibilities dictated by the calendar, during a chaotic Christmas season featuring a plethora of impending Christmas story collections published by competitors in 1866. The chaos was further compounded by Dickens's quest for originality in his own and in his commissioned stories for the Christmas number of All the Year Round, which publication did not even replace a regular number of the publication. Dickens was also keenly aware of his readers' expectations based on previous years' Christmas numbers. Chapman admirably positions and explains each of Dickens's four contributions, which include [End Page 197] "The Signal-man." Seda Coşar Çelik considers "The Signal-man" apart from Mugby Junction in "Railways, Ghosts and Charles Dickens' 'The Signalman,'" which highlights research into the responsibilities of railroad signalmen and the prevalence of accidents through the end of the nineteenth century. The plot of Dickens's short story is summarized through paraphrase and quotations, with commentary suggesting that Dickens used the story as an outlet for his experience in the Staplehurst train crash the previous year.

specialized interests and studies

A goodly number of publications across a wide variety of interests remains after grouping and considering Dickens studies in the categories presented above. These publications are presented below, among the following topics in alphabetical order: Allusions, Dark Tourism, Darwinian Studies, Dickens's Influence, Emigration, Gender and Sexuality, Global Dickens, Imagery, Language, Light, Literary Criticism—Nineteenth Century, Ruins, Sleep, and Urban History.

Allusions

Vincent Newey features Dickens in his entry titled "Bunyan and the Victorians," prepared for The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan, edited by Michael Davies and W. R. Owens. Newey demonstrates Dickens's familiarity with the title The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1678, 1684) in chapter 15 of The Old Curiosity Shop, which leads him to attribute an ongoing influence of Bunyan's text in Dickens's novels, including Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend (575–78). Michael Hollington also comments on "the hold that Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress exercised on Dickens's creative mind" in his "'Milestones on the Dover Road': Dickens and Travel," already considered in Biographies above (313–14).

Dark Tourism

John Edmondson discusses Dickens in "Death and the Tourist: Dark Encounters in Mid-Nineteenth-Century London via the Paris Morgue," found in The Palgrave Handbook of Dark Tourism Studies, edited by Philip R. Stone and others. Edmondson provides ample content regarding dark tourism in London, including quotations from Great Expectations and Bleak House with accompanying commentary. His selections from other novelists are excellent, and he supplements these with reports published by Dickens in All the Year Round. Related newspaper accounts about tourist attractions in London are well selected, too. However, the reader is given the impression [End Page 198] that Dickens and other authors wrote so little about the Paris Morgue itself, that there remained more than enough room in the Handbook to include excerpts from everything, even including two sentences from Dickens about the appearance of people in the vicinity of the Paris Morgue, who actually have no interest in it whatsoever. Apparently, Dickens and Mrs. Frances Trollope are the only literary English authors to write about the Morgue, joined only by the French author Émile Zola. The entry is missing comparable British newspaper accounts of the Paris Morgue, such as "The Dead-House at Paris" in the 16 January 1853 issue of Reynolds's Newspaper (2); "The Morgue at Paris" in the 1 August 1856 issue of The Ipswich Advertiser (10), which is accompanied by an illustration titled "A Scene at the Parisian Morgue" depicting corpses and tourists; and "The Paris Morgue" in the 19 May 1860 issue of The Bucks Advertiser and Aylesbury News (3).

Darwinian Studies

Allan Conrad Christensen devotes part of a final chapter of his book Darwinian Nature and Artistic Texts to Dickens. In "Houses Aflame: Transgressions of Domesticity in Novels by Jenkin, Bulwer Lytton, Scott, Ruffini, Ainsworth and Dickens," he somewhat unconvincingly associates Charles Darwin's commentary on erosion as a geologically constructive force with "the same fires that have been unmaking human artefacts—often destroying texts in particular," yet constructive when the texts that feature fires in their plots survive and typify "the making of the novels themselves" (241). Christensen basically summarizes various novelists' plot contexts in which burning or burnt houses are described. Dickens is represented by Barnaby Rudge, Martin Chuzzlewit, and a simile from a partially quoted sentence in David Copperfield. Christensen's essays in this book are revised and expanded versions of previously published articles.

Dickens's Influence

Two publications address Dickens's role in the forthcoming Modernist literature. Georges Letissier's chapter "Between the 'English Nuvvle' and the 'Novel of Aloofness': Charles Dickens's Proto-(High) Modernism" in Beyond the Victorian/Modernist Divide: Remapping the Turn-of-the-Century Break in Literature, Culture and the Visual Arts, edited by Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada and Anne Besnault-Levita, consists of a fascinating intellectual exercise that "should in no way lead to dogmatic or systematic conclusions." The exercise consists of the application to Dickens's literature of "some of the technical categories devised by Ford Madox Ford" across Ford's publications, in order to understand better Ford's "aesthetic appraisal of Dickens" [End Page 199] regarding impersonality, impressionism, mirroring, and rendering (56). Letissier examines The Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, Martin Chuzzlewit, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend and supplements his tentative findings with commentary from other critics. One representative example here will need to suffice. Letissier writes:

Applying Ford's own template for a renewed definition of the novel to Dickens may shed light on the latter's proto-modernism. … According to Ford, the significance of technique lay in its freeing power. It was the way in which to find the perfect fit between a creator's unique interaction with life and its artistic expression. … Even if Dickens is still sometimes remembered for his sallies tearing the fabric of the fiction to put forward sweeping generalizations, critics like Fred Kaplan, Jay Clayton, or Matthew Bolton … have shown how the Victorian writer, by erasing the contours between the narratorial voice and the character's own speeches, contributed to lending open, vocal expression to subjective, often erratic, trains of thought.

(60)

Therefore, "[b]y pulling the rug out from under his fiction's framework, Dickens adumbrates the Modernist novel, known for attempting to dispense with the trappings of plotting" (66).

Camella Ulleland Hoel approaches Dickens's influence from the aspect of plot. In "Secret Plots: The False Endings of Dickens's Novels," she examines reader response to Oliver Twist, Little Dorrit, and Our Mutual Friend based on the following premise: "Coincidence, after a certain point, creates a resistance in the reader: by constantly highlighting its own plottedness, and thereby the freedom of the author to determine events without any reference to how things work in the real world, the text punctures the illusion of plausibility, and triggers a more resistant reading of the plot" (232). She then guides her readers to the conclusion that in all three novels, Dickens's endings "reinforce the keynote: the political problem raised in the text as a whole. Dickens poses problems for debate, but he rarely offers the solution. That, he leaves to his readers" (244).

Four authors examine Dickens's known or apparent influences on literary works, surveyed here in chronological order. In "Daemonic, Mesmeric, Parasitic: Dickens and Evelyn Waugh," John Bowen argues that Waugh's already extensively documented literary debt to Dickens greatly exceeds aspects such as "allusions, citations, and quotations … analogies … [and] essentially biographical filiations and overthrowings." Rather, he presents [End Page 200] "privileged figures and tropes—in particular forms of compulsive repetition, madness and parasitism—through which Dickens's fictions linger within and erupt into Waugh's work" (138). Bowen turns to Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Little Dorrit as the novels with the deepest impact on multiple works by Waugh. His assessment of other scholars' explanations of why Waugh sometimes disparaged Dickens's works is additionally insightful. Next, in Penny McCarthy's "'Going Down the Long Slide': Philip Larkin and Dickens," McCarthy suggests that David Copperfield is a literary antecedent of Philip Larkin's poem "High Windows" (1974), with parallels found in three excerpts about windows—Aunt Betsy Trotwood's reference to "'a girl and boy attachment'" in chapter 35, three excerpts with the color blue, and so on. She establishes that Larkin read part or all of Bleak House and Great Expectations, to support a hypothesis that he read David Copperfield, as well. In "Theatrical Extraneity: John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany and Dickensian Theater-Fiction," Graham Wolfe is interested in the extent to which theatrical elements in John Irving's 1989 novel A Prayer for Owen Meany are associated with selected passages about theater in Dickens's writings, primarily Pip and Herbert Pocket's attendance at a production of Hamlet with Mr. Wopsle in the lead role, some sentences and paraphrases from Nicholas Nickleby, and a passing reference to "Private Theatres" in Sketches by Boz. Wolfe determines that "through engagement with theater … Irving adapts and performs anew the democratizing potentials of Dickensian mise-en-scène" (371), but a reader is more likely to be convinced by Wolfe's conclusions after reading the entirety of the Vincent Crummles scenes in Nicholas Nickleby, along with the short story "Mrs. Joseph Porter, 'Over the Way'" from Sketches by Boz. Lastly, Keith Daniel Harris believes that some science fiction writers "rediscover a Dickensian sensibility in their exploration of the effects of cyberspace on individuality," yet they have "much to learn from Dickens' observations on the process of urbanisation" by actually reading Dickens, specifically Bleak House (87). In his chapter "Wires Are the New Filth: The Rebirth of Dickens' London in Cyberspace," from Cityscapes of the Future: Urban Spaces in Science Fiction, edited by Yael Maurer and Meyrav Koren-Kuik, Harris uncovers similarities between Our Mutual Friend and the 1998 animated television series Serial Experiments Lain, written by Yoshitoshi Abe and Chiaki Konaka, by focusing on characterization rather than urbanization.

Three Dickens studies credit Dickens with scientific prescience. First, Heather Tilley discusses instances in Dickens's works of literal, figurative, and imagined blindness, along with near blindness, in works of fiction (The Pickwick Papers, The Cricket on the Hearth, David Copperfield, Bleak House) [End Page 201] and nonfiction (American Notes, autobiographical fragment). In her chapter "Writing Blindness: Dickens" from her book Blindness and Writing from Wordsworth to Gissing, she argues "that these discourses lend new impetus to blindness as a trope that tests the limits to empirical vision and the representational systems of narrative in Dickens's fiction" (181). Second, in the article "Back to the Future: Charles Dickens and the Prospective Brain," Maria K. Bachman posits that Dickens "anticipated and extended … early theories on the mind to develop in his novels a psychology of expectation," and that his fictional presentations of "the foibles of imagination and illusions of foresight" are "remarkably prescient of twenty-first century research on prospection" (225). The evidential novels are Martin Chuzzlewit, Dombey and Son, and Great Expectations. Third, two chapters in From Chaos to Catastrophe? Texts and the Transitionality of the Mind consider aspects of the mind in Dickens's writings. In "Biographical Patterns, Models of Consciousness and Historical Significance in Dickens" and "Diagnostic Power and Practical Relevance: Some Further Steps," K. Ludwig Pfeiffer generally agrees that Dickens "handles the complexity of the world by replacing it with modalizations of situations as comic, homey, uncanny, threatening, mysterious and the like, and, analogously, by populating the world with characters intrinsically interesting as transformations, adaptations of the older humor traditions." Further, "he tackles the self-observation of the mind with a narrative trick: He suggests that the unconscious emerges in the intensification of stock emotions, not in the exploration of areas of the mind hitherto ignored" (127). Be that as it may, Pfeiffer believes that Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend reveal Dickens's rare attempts to study and portray consciousness in a manner recognized in the twentieth century (132–35).

Emigration

Fariha Shaikh devotes part of one chapter of her book Nineteenth-Century Settler Emigration in British Literature and Art to Dickens. In "Emigration Aesthetics: Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens and Catherine Helen Spence," she demonstrates that Martin Chuzzlewit and David Copperfield, along with Mary Barton (Gaskell) and Clara Morison (Spence), convey the impact of emigration "upon the lives of the central characters in formative ways" (162). She reviews Dickens's unpleasant experiences in America and how he fictionalizes them in Martin Chuzzlewit, challenges Nancy Metz's claim in Dickens Quarterly that Dickens intended to advise future emigrants to America by means of the novel (2001, 60), and stresses the importance of [End Page 202] young Martin Chuzzlewit's realizations, from his journey to America, of his selfishness and of the value and meaning of home. As for David Copperfield, Shaikh dismisses Grace Moore's conclusion in Dickens and Empire that Mr. Micawber's success in Australia is unrealistic and an inartistic resolution of a subplot (2004, 12). She examines Micawber's letter writing before his family's emigration and explains how his success as a writer in Australia is not only plausible but also artistically complementary to David Copperfield's own success as a writer.

Gender and Sexuality

In Sisters and the English Household: Domesticity and Women's Autonomy in Nineteenth-Century English Literature, Anne D. Wallace discusses the seriousness of dangerous unmarried sisters in Victorian fiction and equates the "figuration of the danger … with the degree of autonomy sought or achieved, with whether they are blood sisters of affinal ones, and with whether their siblings are sisters or brothers—not to mention the variations linked to class, age, and so forth." Indeed, they are so prevalent that "we might turn to almost any novel of the period for examples" (113), and she selects David Copperfield for probing into Dickens's characterization of Jane Murdstone. For her consideration of adult brothers in the house, she examines Tom Pinch in Martin Chuzzlewit against the background of "representational constraint … [that] involves 'feminizing' them, so that their economic and legal autonomy is figuratively disabled, rendered less than legitimate," resulting in the truncation of their posterity (129). Two observations about Tom should suffice. "Tom is arrested in an indeterminate but recognizably impotent state, male without being masculine." In addition, "[w]hile he remains in Pecksniff's house, Tom's emotional, moral, and economic dependence mimics the position of an unmarried sister who functions as 'wife,' an identity that is enforced by a variety of details. Tom acts as the sweeper-up of small and odious tasks in Pecksniff's establishment, a sort of professional housekeeper doing the work Pecksniff devalues and avoids" (131). Wallace's entire book is discerning and persuasive. Nancy Henry presents an interesting dichotomy in "Charles Dickens—No Money, No Story: From Martin Chuzzlewit to Our Mutual Friend," a section in her book Women, Literature and Finance in Victorian Britain. Dickens writes realist fiction with women who "invest or speculate, either directly or indirectly, in local and global markets," as part of his "critiques of capitalism, greed, and the commodification of human life" (56–57). Dickens also writes fairytale marriages in order to "express the hope that women will love men for [End Page 203] themselves rather than for their money" (58). She does note that Dickens's fairy-tale writings have a dark side that complements his realist fiction in the later novels. Apart from gender considerations, Henry faults Dickens for "not confronting and more directly condemning slavery in both American Notes and Martin Chuzzlewit" (60). Lastly, Meg Dobbins's article "On 'Queer Street': Queer Masculinity and Financial Agents in Dickens" begins with an examination of denotations and connotations of the word queer during the Victorian era, without a comparable analysis of the terminology queer street from the chapter "Lodgers in Queer Street," which begins Book the Third of Our Mutual Friend. Dobbins proceeds to "rearticulate the once intertwined social and discursive histories of finance and queer sexuality" with a detailed and convincing demonstration of "how phobic representations of queer financial agents shape" economic aspects in David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Our Mutual Friend (72–73). Regarding Our Mutual Friend, it is worth noting that an additional meaning of queer street is found in The Dickens Index by Nicholas Bentley and others, which explains that "being in queer street" means being "in financial straits," as noted in Latin "by tradesmen in their ledgers against the names of customers whose solvency they doubted" (211).

Global Dickens

Regenia Gagnier's book Literatures of Liberalization: Global Circulation and the Long Nineteenth Century also contains a chapter titled "The Global Circulation of Charles Dickens's Novels." The chapter is certainly a good, general introduction to the global circulation of Dickens's novels, but the worldwide Dickens industry severely limits what anyone can include in a single chapter of a book, making Gagnier's list of works cited all the more essential to subsequent and fuller examinations of this topic. Although she excludes even passing commentary on Martin Chuzzlewit, Dombey and Son, Our Mutual Friend, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, she does supplement her introduction with references to Sketches by Boz, Sketches of Young Couples, A Christmas Carol, and Household Words.

Imagery

"The Country in the City: Dickens and the Idyllic River" is Mary L. Shannon's contribution to editor Wendy Parkins's Victorian Sustainability in Literature and Culture. Shannon addresses the changing river landscape in Dickens's writings, from pastoral to urban, while adroitly explaining how both aspects function together in his later novels. Her case is made all the more poignant by including Dickens's maturing views in such works of nonfiction as [End Page 204] "On Duty with Inspector Field" and "Down with the Tide" from Household Words and "Night Walks" and "Tramps" from The Uncommerical Traveller. Two introductory sentences serve well as summaries of Shannon's study. "The tidal river becomes something that both takes away and returns its human resources but the flow of the river from country to city pulls characters back to London. The river enables not only the sanitary escape from the city which allows his characters to be cleansed but, most importantly, it enables their return, enriched, which offers the potential for sustainable social progress" (107). The novels central to her analysis are David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend. Ivan Kreilkamp's book Minor Creatures: Persons, Animals, and the Victorian Novel features an aptly titled chapter "Dying like a Dog in Dickens," in which he gathers and discusses Dickens's assessment of London's Smithfield Market in "A Monument of French Folly" from Household Words, Oliver Twist, and Great Expectations. Specifically, "Dickens returns to the depiction of Smithfield Market as an appalling scene of unhygienic animal death" (69), which he then associates with "imagery relating to bodily decomposition" in Bleak House (72). Kreilkamp's primary focus, however, is on Great Expectations (76–88).

Language

Three singular studies contribute to understanding Dickens's skill with language. One study is found in Garrett Stewart's The Value of Style in Fiction, in the chapter "Emergent Turns: Defoe toward Dickens." Stewart dissects Dickens's syntax found in two excerpts that are emblematic of "cinematic prototypes" (37). The first excerpt is the ending sentence of Book the Third's ninth chapter in A Tale of Two Cities, in which Dickens reveals who is watching whom in the courtroom. The second excerpt is from one paragraph in the second chapter of Our Mutual Friend, in which Dickens comments on a sideboard and then links his use of the verb "reflects" to a series of sentence fragments. Stewart also explains how Dickens's writing style in David Copperfield and Great Expectations differs from that of Daniel Defoe. Another study is titled "Dickens's Tricks," in which John Mullan examines several features of Dickens's novels, giving the most detailed analysis to Dickens's shifting back and forth between past and present tense in Dombey and Son, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. His other observations include the literary technique of prolepsis in David Copperfield; a startling or otherwise thought-provoking metaphor of the "as it appeared to me" variety in The Pickwick Papers, Bleak House, and Great Expectations; and repetition in Dombey and Son and Great [End Page 205] Expectations. Especially intriguing is "A Moral Technology: Speech Tags in Charles Dickens's Dialogue" from Sarah Allison's book Reductive Reading: A Syntax of Victorian Moralizing. She explores Dickens's use of speech tags as a method of characterization. On the basis of examples from Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, Allison overgeneralizes in order to conclude, "The novels of Dickens stage a reflexive contrast between speech and manner that is habitual enough that its relative rarity in Esther's narrative [in Bleak House] is a notable part of what is missing from her characterization: its absence becomes one way of staging her self-effacement that becomes its own evidence of her refusal to avow moral judgment not only of Skimpole but of Jarndyce" (128). Allison actually demonstrates this aspect of Dickens's writing in Bleak House quite well, but with the absence of evidence from additional contrasting novels, she should probably have restricted "habitual" to Dickens's early novels. She also considers Dickens's presentation of moralized characterization through dialogue, naming of characters, descriptions of appearances, and relating of actions by providing speech tags, which establishes "a flexible relation between character speech and character manner" that requires readers to "read through" the text for "a more penetrating understanding of character interiority." (119). This chapter is well-grounded in research within specified theoretical confines.

Light

Two chapters ("Firelight" and "Candlelight") in Richard Leahy's book Literary Illumination: The Evolution of Artificial Light in Nineteenth-Century Literature consider the role of light in selected Dickens works. His choices of the spontaneous combustion of Krook in Bleak House, the burning of Satis House in Great Expectations, and the conversation between Lizzie and Charley Hexam before the hearth in Our Mutual Friend are sound. Everyone will have omissions to lament, such as Dickens's farce The Lamplighter and Durdles's lantern which reveals a source of lime to John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Literary Criticism—Nineteenth Century

Peter Melville Logan's "Primitive Criticism and the Novel: G. H. Lewes and Hippolyte Taine on Dickens" critiques two early assessments of Dickens's novels, from the period when, first, "[a]nalytically examining the best of popular fiction was a new project for novel criticism," and, second, "its methods were ill-equipped" for such a task (126). The assessments are "Dickens in Relation to Criticism" by George Henry Lewes in volume 11 of The Fortnightly Review (1872, 141–54) and "Charles Dickens, son talent et [End Page 206] ses oeuvres" by Hippolyte A. Taine in the first volume of Revue des Deux Mondes (1856, 618–47). Logan explains Lewes's use of a positivist paradigm of primitivism and Taine's use of a traditional paradigm of primitivism, both grounded in the contemporary anthropological science of culture. Significantly, although both authors' approaches to literary criticism were original, neither one was "generative in the sense of being reproduced in the work of subsequent critics of the novel" (139).

Ruins

Zeynep Harputlu's "Ruins, Memory and Identity in Dickens's Little Dorrit and Dombey and Son" is a promising essay that is regrettably weakened by the author's willingness to embrace almost any understanding of the concept of ruins. In this examination of Dickens's two novels, along with Pictures from Italy, ruins constitute slums, cemeteries, houses, characters, memories, detachment from the past, obstructions to progress, agents of progress, preservation of culture, imagery, symbolism, and so on. Each section of the article is presented as if it bears little or no relation to the other sections, namely, "Classical Ruins," "The Marshalsea Prison," "The Image of the House," and "Bleeding Heart Yard." The concluding paragraph summarizes each section within the overly generalized topic of how ruins "played a significant role in shaping Dickens's fiction" (85). Clearly, this essay could be expanded into insightful chapters for a book-length examination of the significance of specifically defined aspects of ruins and how each one is addressed by Dickens across multiple works of fiction. Conversely, a single article could lend itself to a specific focus regarding ruins, one that is either unique to a particular work or sustained in two or more works.

Sleep

Dickens is the focus of the chapter "'Snoring for the Million': Dickens the Sleep-watcher," found in Michael Greaney's book Sleep and the Novel: Fictions of Somnolence from Jane Austen to the Present. Greaney's study of sleep in Dickens's life and writings is comprehensive and terse. He begins with comedy in The Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations and then proceeds to the autobiographical essays "Lying Awake" and "Night Walks" from Household Words and All the Year Round, respectively. Greaney finds that "Dickens himself evidently regards the night that he spends fighting a losing battle with insomnia to be among the formative conditions of possibility of his writing" (76). Additional novels considered include Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop, Barnaby Rudge, Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, [End Page 207] Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, among the subtopics "The Comedy of Sleep," "Overlooking Sleep," "Sleep-Doing," and "The Politics of Sleep." His conclusions are convincing and astute, such as the "Dickensian sleeping body is an affront to the gaze of polite society that would prefer not to look in its direction but, like David Copperfield compulsively examining Uriah Heep, can't help but stare when it is presented with the physical reality of slumber in all its vulgar unwieldiness" (100–101).

Urban History

Joanna Hofer-Robinson is the author of the masterful book Dickens and Demolition: Literary Afterlives and Mid-Nineteenth-Century Urban Development, a major contribution to the field of urban history. She has written a comprehensive study of Dickens's involvement in London's urban development, in both his life and literature, leading to his "reputation as the champion of the urban poor" (15). Among the unforeseen consequences are Dickens's own silencing of the displaced poor's voices, the appropriation of Dickens's fiction for justifying features of urban development at odds with Dickens's views, and, after Dickens's lifetime, the manipulation of Dickens's texts in order to "carry a huge variety of political inflections … to promote multiple causes, and to advocate different positions in debates about how and where the city should be improved" (46).

Chapter 1 provides a fine introduction to the "bewildering systems of governance and obstructions from vested interests" before and after the establishment of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855 (22). When achieved, the actual process of demolition involved railway construction, new and improved roads, slum removal, commercial and dock developments, and new public buildings, to name a few. Chapter 2 reviews early stage adaptations of Oliver Twist and presents differing reactions to Dickens's storytelling. One school of thought was that such adaptations have the power to incite the kind of criminal behavior portrayed and should be banned. Another view, unsurprisingly, came from a theater manager, who argued that Dickens's plot sides with the law and informs the public about the ongoing need to be vigilant in London. Chapter 3 is linked to chapter 2 with its focus on Field Lane, the London location of Fagin's den in Oliver Twist. Hofer-Robinson reports frequent appropriations of the novel in parliamentary debates about Field Lane's demolition, not to argue cause and effect, but rather to illustrate an early example of Dickensian afterlives. Chapter 4 turns to Dickens's personal involvement in philanthropy, social reform, and environmental reform, which led to his being "directly involved with making changes to the built environment in his lifetime" (130). Finally, [End Page 208] chapter 5 details the "slow and disjointed" elimination of sanitation problems at Jacob's Island, the River Thames location of Toby Crackit's house in Oliver Twist, with reform not even commencing until 1850 (193). As for Dickensian afterlives, the novel retains its power to manipulate and even erase "how the site's previous residents are perceived," while simultaneously "literary tourism continues to reinforce Jacob's Island's association with Dickens" with plaques placed by the Southwark Borough Council (201).

conclusion

Dickens studies continue unabatedly, from the most recent publications found in Duane DeVries's ongoing series of General Studies of Charles Dickens to thriving journals that focus on Dickens, along with 2018 publications that cite scholars who are published in those journals, to journals old and new that welcome scholarship on Dickens to a growing interest in multimedia studies of Dickens. It is as if the newly restored portrait by Margaret Gillies of the youthful thirty-one-year-old Dickens is vibrantly gazing with pleasure at his visitors in the Charles Dickens Museum, while simultaneously gazing beyond to a foreseen global, multimedia cherishing of his literature. It is as if Dickens's Dream has been completed, and a new dream is just beginning.

Robert C. Hanna
Bethany Lutheran College
Robert C. Hanna

robert c. hanna is Professor of English at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota, where he chairs the Humanities Division and the English Department. His books include The Dickens Christian Reader (2000), Dickens's Nonfictional, Theatrical, and Poetical Writings: An Annotated Bibliography, 1820–2000 (2007), and Dickens's Uncollected Magazine and Newspaper Sketches as Originally Composed and Published 1833–1836 (2012). He has also collected and published Dickens's juvenilia in "Before Boz: The Juvenilia and Early Writings of Charles Dickens, 1820–1833 (2009), as well as the previously unpublished The Storm at the Lighthouse by Wilkie Collins (2013), both in Dickens Studies Annual.

Note

. Through the kindness of the editors of Dickens Studies Annual, I have this opportunity to express my gratitude to Stanley Friedman, who has supported my research, writing, and editing of this survey with patience and cheerfulness. Indeed, I have worked with him on all of my contributions to Dickens Studies Annual over the past ten years, and I cannot adequately state my appreciation for all of his assistance, my admiration of his scholarship, and my respect for his editorial skills and judgment. I will be remiss if I do not also mention the support, capability, and persistence of Angela Duryee, Circulation and Interlibrary Loan Coordinator at Bethany Lutheran College's Memorial Library. She enabled me to include every 2018 publication that I had designated for inclusion in this survey. Thank you so much, Angela.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2167-8510
Print ISSN
0084-9812
Pages
149-219
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-19
Open Access
No
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