Charles Dickens, Modernism, Modernity examines the reasons why Dickens’s fiction, this “flowing and mixed substance called Dickens,” as Chesterton once said, became straightaway – and forever, it would seem – a world landmark.
Seeking to uncover some of the secret springs of the great novelist’s timeless, mythical fiction, the essays collected in these volumes mirror the current variety of theoretical approaches to the intriguing question of Dickens’s receptiveness to the modern. They began life as presentations given at the Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle, France’s premier site for conferences on Arts and Humanities. The greatest writers and thinkers have been honoured there for over a century: it is precisely on account of its tradition of engagement with the avant-garde and the to-dayish that Cerisy was felt to be the ideal venue, in the run-up to the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth, for a debate over where to locate the temporal and aesthetic standards delineating the great Victorian writer’s modernity, and over how much these standards reveal about our own values and sense of the up-to-date.
Providing an attractive snapshot of recent Dickens scholarship, these two Colloque de Cerisy volumes contribute to invigorate the very active international and interdisciplinary field of Dickens studies.
Volume 1: Urban Modernity; Modernity in / and Motion
Volume 1 examines how Dickens’s representation of life’s epic as rooted in contemporary reality gives him access to the poetical within the historical, the eternal within the transitory.
Contributions by Andrew Ballantyne, Michael Hollington, Christine Huguet, Juliet John, Francesca Orestano, Wendy Parkins, Robert L. Patten, Gillian Piggott, Vladimir Trendafilov, Nathalie Vanfasse.
Volume 2: The Life of Things; Dickens the Thinker;
Mysteries of the Self; Towards a Modernist Aesthetics?
Volume 2 explores how Dickens transforms the everyday into the extraordinary, thus addressing moments of modernity as timeless metaphysical self-questionings.
Contributions by Matthias Bauer, Murray Baumgarten, John Bowen, Adina Ciugureanu, David Ellison, Lawrence Frank, Holly Furneaux, Michal Peled Ginsburg, John O. Jordan, Valerie Kennedy, William F. Long, Natalie McKnight, David Paroissien, Dominic Rainsford, Paul Schlicke, Angelika Zirker.
Table of contents
Volume 1 (230 pp)
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: Dickens and the “wine of Life”
Christine Huguet and Nathalie Vanfasse
I. Urban Modernity
1. Charles Dickens Citoyen de Paris
2. Two Londoners: Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf
3. Longing and the Dickensian City: Place, Popularity and the Past
II. Modernity in/and Motion
1. Internationalising Dickens: Little Dorrit Reconsidered
Robert L. Patten
2. Charles Dickens and some Urban Legends in Twentieth-Century Bulgaria
3. Mobility and Modernity: Reading Barnaby Rudge
4. Dickens and Chaplin: “The Tramp”
5. Dingley Dell: Pickwick Papers’ Lieu de Mémoire
Volume 2 (266 pp)
III. The Life of Things
1. The Topicality of Sketches by Boz
Paul Schlicke and William F. Long
2. The Ends of Privacy: Dickens, Strange, Collins
3. Dickens, Sexuality and the Body or, Clock Loving: Master Humphrey’s Queer Objects of Desire
IV. Dickens the Thinker
1. “The Philothophy of the Thubject”: Hard Times and the Reasoning Animal
2. The French Gentleman’s Grin: Allusion, Intellectual History, and Narratography in Our Mutual Friend
3. Dickens and the Voices of History
V. Mysteries of the Self
1. Dickens and the Exploding World: Self and Others in Great Expectations
2. Dickens and the Post-Modern Self: Fragmentation, Authority and Death
3. Mania and Melancholia in David Copperfield: Dora Spenlow and Uriah Heep
4. Dickens and the Jews / the Jews and Dickens: The Instability of Identity
5. Plotting (in) Barnaby Rudge
Michal Peled Ginsburg
VI. Towards a Modernist Aesthetic?
1. Dickens and Ambiguity: The Case of A Tale of Two Cities
Matthias Bauer and Angelika Zirker
2. Human, Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? Crossovers between Organic and Inorganic Matter in Our Mutual Friend
3. Narrative Closure in David Copperfield and Bleak House
John O. Jordan
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