Themes in Dickens

Seven Recurring Concerns in the Writings


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About the Book

The Victorian age is often portrayed as an era of repressive social mores. Yet this simplified view ignores the context of Great Britain’s profound shift, through rapid industrialization, from rural to metropolitan life during this time.
Throughout his career, Charles Dickens addressed the numerous changes occurring in Victorian society. His portrayals of organized religion, class distinction, worker’s rights, prison reform and rampant poverty resonated with readers experiencing social upheaval. Focusing on his novels, nonfiction writing, speeches and personal correspondence, this book explores Dickens’s use of these themes as both literary devices and as a means to effect social progress.

About the Author(s)

Peter J. Ponzio teaches at Loyola University of Chicago. He has published a number of works on Dickens and presented at the 200th anniversary of Dickens’s birth at the University of Kent in 2012. He recently served as the editor of the online database Humanities Directory.

Bibliographic Details

Peter J. Ponzio
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 196
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7257-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3135-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Abbreviations 1
Dates of Publication 2
Preface 3
Introduction 5
Chapter One—Class and Class Distinctions 19
Chapter Two—Naming, Identity and Self 41
Chapter Three—Dreams and Dreaming 72
Chapter Four—Society and Social Pretension 93
Chapter Five—Ineffective Institutions 117
Chapter Six—Prison 130
Afterword 165
Appendix: Suggested Reading 169
Chapter Notes 171
Works Cited 181
Additional Sources 184
Index 187

Book Reviews & Awards

“[This book] is so well-written that readers who are unfamiliar with Dickens can very easily identify unread novels of personal interest”—Dickens Studies Annual