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The Ohio State University Press
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The Old Story, with a Difference: Pickwick’s Vision explores in radically different ways from most approaches to nineteenth-century studies the tropes and metaphors of vision in Dickens’ first novel, The Pickwick Papers. Julian Wolfreys provides a close reading of Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and argues that this novel is an exemplary text for the re-consideration of concepts such as literature, history, the novel, and the whole notion of Victorian studies. True to the purpose of the Victorian Critical Interventions Series, Wolfreys challenges scholars to rethink the use of a canonical text in Victorian literature. Challenging the commonplaces of historicist criticism, and demonstrating the need for a return to close reading, The Old Story, with a Difference presents a reading of the novel grounded in the twinned rigors of materialist historiography and theoretical inflections tending toward attentiveness to epistemological and linguistic concerns. Through such an orientation, Wolfreys unpacks the relation between the tropes of visuality and matters of memory, history, and the necessity of fiction to bear witness to the cultures, past and present, from which literature becomes generated and which it mediates. In doing so, he situates an argument for rethinking Dickens’ novel as the inaugural novel of Victorian fiction par excellence, in that novel’s efforts to remain open to the traces of the past in particular ways. The Old Story, with a Difference holds profound implications for the study not only of Dickens’ works but Victorian literature and culture in general. Provocative and inventive, this ambitious analysis will challenge, goad, and invite the reader to return to acts of materialist reading informed by ethical and ideological urgency, rather than relapsing into the commonplaces of humanist cliché.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Series Page, Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments and a Note on the Text
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. 1. History's Difference
  2. pp. 17-41
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  1. 2. Vision's Difference
  2. pp. 42-64
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  1. 3. Illuminating Office
  2. pp. 65-89
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  1. Afterword: The Old Story . . . with a Difference
  2. pp. 90-104
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 105-112
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 113-120
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 121-122
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  1. Other Titles in the Series
  2. pp. 123-124
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814272626
Related ISBN
9780814251492
MARC Record
OCLC
1230228835
Pages
122
Launched on MUSE
2021-01-13
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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