Site Map of the International Cultural Center of Cerisy-La-Salle
THURSDAY 25 AUGUST (7 PM) TO THURSDAY 1 SEPTEMBER
(2 PM) 2011
CONFERENCE CHAIR : Christine HUGUET
CONFERENCE THEME :
conference theme is designed to examine the reasons
why the fiction of Charles Dickens, this "flowing and
mixed substance called Dickens", to speak like Chesterton,
became straightaway — and forever, it would seem — a world
landmark. We shall ask why the fictional techniques and
procedures which delighted Dickens’s contemporaries still
inspire today’s writers, after striking their twentieth-century
predecessors’ imagination wonderfully.
of "The Inimitable"’s birth will be celebrated
worldwide next year; yet, some of the secret springs
of his timeless, mythical fiction still remain to be
uncovered. As we know, modernity foregrounds the power
of words and the text’s capacity to create an autonomous
world — and in this respect, the Dickens corpus illustrates
supremely the creative magic of language. Such an observation,
however, fails to account fully for the perennial appeal
of his fiction. It is the aim of this international conference,
which will gather many world specialists, to address precisely
this issue, notably by examining some lesser known aspects of
the great novelist’s work in the light of the modernist stance.
CONFERENCE SCHEDULE :
Thursday 25 August
RECEPTION OF PARTICIPANTS
Presentation of the Center, the conference and participants
Friday 26 August
Dickens and France
Charles Dickens Citoyen
Ignacio RAMOS GAY: Dickens, France, and Comparative Proto-Ecocriticism
(read by Christine HUGUET and Nathalie VANFASSE)
Reception Issues 1
Juliet JOHN: Culture,
Dickens and the Exploding World
Paul SCHLICKE: The topicality
of Sketches by Boz
Gillian PIGGOTT: Dickens and Charles Chaplin
Saturday 27 August
David ELLISON: "Timid
Marks": Dickens and the ends of Privacy
Holly FURNEAUX: Dickens,
Sexuality and the Body, or Clock Loving; Master Humphrey's
Queer Objects of Desire
Sunday 28 August
Form and Narrative 1 (Beginnings, Middles, Endings)
David PARKER: Dickens's Plots
John O. JORDAN: Narrative
Closure in David Copperfield and Bleak House
Two Londoners: Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf
Postmodern Dickens: The Fragmented Self and
Alternative States of Consciousness
Mania and Melancholia in Dickens’s Fiction (David
Copperfield and Great Expectations)
Wendy PARKINS: Mobility
and Modernity: Reading Barnaby Rudge
Monday 29 August
Form and Narrative 2
The Uses of Allusions in the Later Novels of Dickens
Zelma CATALAN: "Quite
Candid about All I Thought and Did", or Why Do We Trust
Dickens’s First-Person Narrators?
Michal P. GINSBURG:
Plotting (in) Barnaby Rudge
Oblique, Ambiguous Dickens
Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? Crossovers between Organic
and Inorganic Matter in Our Mutual Friend
BAUER & Angelika ZIRKER: Dickens and
Dinner at the Château de La Salle. Reading by Michael
Tuesday 30 August
"Philothophy", Life Philosophy, Sense of History
John BOWEN: "The Philothophy
of the Thubject"
Dickens and the Voices of History
Dingley Dell: Pickwick Papers’ lieu de mémoire
Nathalie VANFASSE: The Lady at her Toilette,
Vanity and Death and The Maiden: a Pictorial Reinterpretation
of the Character of Miss Havisham
Wednesday 31 August
Reception Issues 2
Dickens and the Jews/the Jews and Dickens
Dickens and Some Urban Legends in Twentieth-Century Bulgaria
Jonathan GROSSMAN: Passenger
Robert L. PATTEN: International
Dickens: Little Dorrit on the "Grand Tour"
Thursday 1 September
Ignacio RAMOS GAY: Dickens, France, and Comparative
Proto-Ecocriticism (read by Christine HUGUET and Nathalie VANFASSE)
Andrew BALLANTYNE: Dingley
Dell: Pickwick Papers’ lieu de mémoire
Education and research help to
prepare us to face the future. In our working lives we
are expected to be ever more efficient, and arrangements are
made so that we can produce as much as possible of the good things
that our employers or our customers want from us. This state
of affairs was significantly intensified by industrialization,
when steam-powered machines took pride of place. Pickwick
Papers is a holiday. It is playfully elaborate and completely inefficient,
even in the matter of story-telling, the plot hardly amounting
to anything more systematic than digression. Its idealized arcadia
is Dingley Dell: a village with an old-English manor house and
its pre-industrial community still intact. Rural traditions flourish
here — village cricket, Christmas festivities — and it is presented
as the place where genuine national character is made manifest.
It can be contrasted with the factories and schoolrooms to be
found elsewhere in Dickens' writings, where efficiency is the aim,
but where Dickens finds only drudgery and if humanity is there it is
surviving against the odds. Dingley Dell is a locus of resistance
to industrialization, and its culture is identified as the embodiment
of the national character, which needs to be fortified with good
cheer in order to survive into the industrial future.
BAUER & Angelika ZIRKER: Dickens and Ambiguity
not, perhaps, think of Dickens as a particularly ambiguous
writer, especially when we reflect on such unambiguously
good or evil characters like Oliver or Quilp, on the
redemption of Scrooge or the poetic justice bringing about
the downfall of Mr. Pecksniff. But the very stress on the contrast
of good and evil points to a predilection for dichotomies
that may suddenly become ambiguous. The most notable case is
probably the ending of Great Expectations, which
leaves readers in a state of uncertainty as to the outcome of Pip’s,
the lowly star-lover’s, history of longing for his antagonistic
star, Estella. But while this ending and its repeated revisions
by Dickens have produced a great amount of commentary, the widespread
phenomenon of ambiguity resulting from supposedly clear-cut dichotomies
(of which this ending is just one variety) has attracted far less
in point will be A Tale of Two Cities, in
which the contrast between the two cities is not to be
separated from their similarity, and in which the difference
between the two male protagonists would be meaningless
without their fundamental likeness. We will see that this is
a principle of conceiving ambiguity to be found on every level
of the novel’s discourse, beginning with syntax and semantics.
The famous opening phrase "It was the best of times, it was the
worst of times" puts the principle in a nutshell, as contrast
is turned into a logical contradiction which exposes the very ambiguity
of judging the state of the world. To the very end of the novel,
where death and life are juxtaposed, contrast is evoked only to
Bauer is Professor of English Literature at Tuebingen
University, Germany. He is the co-founder and editor
of Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate.
His fields of research include the Early Modern period,
where he has published on Shakespeare and, in particular,
on the Metaphysical Poets ; the Victorian period ; and
the language of poetry. He has recently initiated two collaborative,
interdisciplinary research projects, the one on "Dimensions
of Ambiguity", the other on "Interpretability in Context",
the latter focusing on criteria for the interpretation of
poetry, and is a member of a newly founded research project
on "Sacred Texts". In the field of Dickens studies, he has published
a book on David Copperfield as well as a number of articles,
among them a paper on "Little Dorrit and the Language of Things".
Zirker is an assistant professor of English Literature
at Tuebingen University, Germany. She is a co-editor
of Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate.
Her fields of research include the Early Modern Period
and the Victorian Age. Her PhD dealt with the concept of redemption
in Lewis Carroll’s Alice books. Recently she co-published
an interdisciplinary article on "Ambiguity in Speaker-Hearer-Interaction".
In the field of Dickens studies, she gave a paper on
reading practices in Our Mutual Friend at the 2009
Jerusalem conference on "Dickens: Victorian Culture, Uneasy
Dickens and the Jews/the Jews and Dickens
For Jewish readers,
reading Oliver Twist as well as encountering its
theatrical and filmic adaptations has been a traumatic experience.
For Fagin is not only a stage Jew — a theatrical figure whose
gang is a little theatre company that trains its members to dress
in costume, pretend to be someone they aren’t, and act different
roles — but one that calls up Shylock, and thus recalls the myth
of the medieval blood libel with which the Jews have been demonized,
and that occupies a central place in the English literary canon,
beginning with Chaucer. This intervention will explore the place
of Dickens in the history of English literary antisemitism, assessing
and comparing Oliver Twist and Our Mutual Friend, in which Dickens
reverses Jewish stereotypes. Perhaps because Dickens invented Riah
to counterbalance Fagin, Jews have continued to be some of his
most devoted and important readers.
Chair in Holocaust Studies, with Peter Kenez; 1999-
: Coordinator, Director, UCSC Jewish Studies; 1994-2006:
Editor, Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought,
published by the American Jewish Congress – now Emeritus Editor;
1981-1986: Founding Director, The Dickens Project; 1978- : Professor
of English and Comparative Literature, University of California,
Santa Cruz; 1975-1977: Director, Jerusalem and Haifa Study Centers,
Education Abroad Program, University of California
Books and Monographs:
1990, Understanding Philip Roth, co-authored with
Barbara Gottfried, University of South Carolina Press, Fall
; 1989, Expectations and Endings: Observations on Holocaust
Literature, Working Papers in Holocaust Studies, Yeshiva/YIVO,
edited by Professors Jeffrey Gurock and Lucjan Dobroszycki
- monograph ; 1982, City Scriptures: Modern Jewish Writing,
Harvard University Press ; 1975, Carlyle and His Era, McHenry
Library, University of California, Santa Cruz, for the Strouse
Edited Books: 2009,
Varieties of Antisemitism. History, Ideology, Discourse,
edited by Murray Baumgarten, Peter Kenez, Bruce Thompson,
University of Delaware Press ; 2001, Jewish Culture and
the Hispanic World: Essays in Memory of Joseph H. Silverman,
ed. Samuel G. Armistead and Mishael M. Caspi in collaboration with
Murray Baumgarten, Juan de la Cuesta Publishers for the Royal
Academy of Spain, Newark, DE.
John BOWEN: "The Philothophy of
Philosophy is everywhere in Dickens’s Hard
Times, not only in the satire of Gradgrind’s philosophy
and everything that is associated with it but also in the many words
or terms — meaning, fact, sensible, reason, object, subject, sense,
truth, existence, enlightenment, matter, the immaterial — that
either repeatedly recur or which flash up at particularly important
or stressful moments in the book. If Hard Times is Dickens’s
novel most explicitly concerned with certain kinds of philosophical
problems it is also, though the one most concerned with entertainment
and performance. I want to explore in this paper how Dickens thinks
the two together. The main things I’m going to be talking about are
entertainment, philosophy, being stupid and being stunned, and what
horsepower might be.
John Bowen is Professor of Nineteenth-Century
Literature at the University of York. His publications include
Other Dickens: Pickwick to Chuzzlewit (OUP, 2000), the
Penguin edition of Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge (2003) and,
co-edited with Professor Robert L. Patten, Palgrave Advances
in Charles Dickens Studies (2005). He served as President of the
Dickens Society in 2008, is a member of the faculty of the University
of California Dickens Project, and a Fellow of the English Association.
Zelma CATALAN: "Quite Candid about
All I Thought and Did", or Why Do We Trust Dickens’s
First-person fictional narratives pose
the problems of what Lubomir Dolezel terms the "authentication"
of the fictional world (Heterocosmica). In the case
of Bleak House and Great Expectations the difficulty
is compounded by the presence of the mystery plot, which determines
the timing and the means of revealing a factual truth hidden to
both the narrator and the reader until much later. I want to argue
that Dickens sets up a complex game of trust which he wins by staggering
the turning points in the mystery and the autobiographical narratives
(Jerome Bruner) and by adopting a specific interactional mode for
his narrators. This allows him to present their process of acquiring
knowledge about their own selves as a reliabilistic one (Alvin Goldman)
and to anchor the fictional world in a solid cognitive framework
that highlights a modern approach to the issue of agency in the
formation of their identities.
Zelma Catalan is a lecturer
in 19th-century British literature, literary stylistics
and other courses on narrative fiction at Sofia University,
Bulgaria. Her most recent publications in these fields include "The
Victorian Bildungsroman: Worlds, Spaces, Directions" (in Bulgarian:
Sofia: 2008), The Politics of Irony in Thackeray’s Mature
Fiction (Sofia: 2010), "Dickens’s David Copperfield:
Worlds, Landscapes, and Narrative" (Metamorphosis and Place,
CSP, 2009), "Dickens and Bentham in Bleak House: A Fiction
against Fictions" (forthcoming).
Mania and Melancholia in Dickens’s Fiction
(David Copperfield and Great Expectations)
aims at discussing mania and melancholia as "diseases
of the nerves" which, according to Foucault’s Madness
and Civilization, were recognized in the nineteenth
century as aspects of madness and from which, I will
argue, some of the minor characters in David Copperfield
and Great Expectations suffer. Dickens is known to have
been interested in lunatic houses, to have visited asylums
and to have befriended John Forster and John Conolly, both
with knowledge of, and interest in, psychiatry. Moreover,
Dickens’s articles on madness in Household Words and his
description of the asylum in American Notes show
not only his desire to explore the theme, but also his being aware
of its deep potentials in fiction writing. My point in this
presentation is to prove that characters like Dora, Uriah
Heep, Molly, and Mrs. Joe show symptoms of mania, melancholia or
both and, even if they are not hospitalized or rescued from the asylum
(as Mr. Dick was), they are clear examples of manifestations of
insanity, ranging from harmless melancholia (Dora) to deep mania (Uriah
Heep). In dealing with various cases of insanity, whether institutionalized
or not, Dickens prefigures the (post)modern novel which turns
the diseased mind into one of its favorite themes.
Ciugureanu is Professor of English and American Literature
at Ovidius University Constanta, Romania. She is currently
the Dean of the Faculty of Letters. The area in which
she has done most of her research is the Victorian age and
Modernism. Her books High Modernist Poetic Discourse
(1997), Modernism and the Idea of Modernity (2004) and Victorian
Selves (2005) reveal her deep interest in these periods.
She has also published a large number of articles both
at home and abroad, the latest being "The Victim–Aggressor
Duality in Great Expectations" (forthcoming),
Partial Answers, 2011.
David ELLISON: "Timid Marks": Dickens
and the ends of Privacy
In a remarkable passage in Paris, Capital of the
19th Century, Walter Benjamin memorably describes the bourgeois
interior as an array of plush surfaces designed to capture the trace
of the inhabitant. He notes the preference for velour covers for slippers
and watches, among other things that, even in rest or apparent neglect,
nevertheless testify to moments of appreciative handling. Such interaction,
he suggests, secures identity artefactually by asserting a line of
demarcation between the private and the public. Outside, the teeming
world of commodities are coldly useful, inside the collector practices
elaborate forms of capture, perpetually imprinting a defining — if ephemeral
— mark on objects. For Benjamin the frank eroticism of this relationship
bears a marked similarity to the exchanges that occur in commercial sexuality.
This paper considers the relationship between collector and object less
as a sign of the complex life world of the commodity, than as a response
to the emergent problem of securing the tenuous privacy of the domestic
interior. In Oliver Twist and Dombey and Son, Dickens explores
the incapacity of the domestic realm to guarantee privacy, while suggesting
that certain kinds of objects — notably books — may establish super-private
realms within the Victorian home.
David Ellison is currently a Visiting Research
Fellow at the Transforming Cultures Research Centre at the University
of Technology, Sydney. He lectures in the School of Humanities at
Griffith University in the areas of Literary Studies and Cultural
History. He has research interests in Victorian literature and culture,
domesticity, technology, architecture and bioethics. Recent publications
include "Inimitable Marionettes, Dickens with Napoleon in his Eyes",
"The Spoiler’s Art: Embarrassed Space as Memorialisation", and "Reproduction
without Women: Frankenstein and the Prohibition of Human Cloning". (With
Professor Isabel Karpin) His current research project - Home Discontents
- challenges accounts of comfort’s progressive triumph over the Victorian
home, focussing instead on discomfort’s curious dispersion into the improvisatory
and everyday practices that shape modern life.
The Uses of Allusions in the Later Novels of Dickens
The session will address
the real or apparent tension between plot and allusion
from the perspective of an intellectual history informed
by the writings of M.M. Bakhtin and Dominick LaCapra, concentrating
on allusions to Hamlet and to the scientific controversies
of mid-Victorian Britain in Bleak House, Little
Dorrit and, more specifically, Our Mutual Friend,
Dickens’s conscious response to Darwin’s Origin of
In touching upon the
practice of intellectual history after some 40 years
of theory, the session can address how allusion (seen
as a form of "figuration") may subvert the thrust of plot in
the novels, particularly the drive to apparent resolution in
the courtship-marriage plot and the mystery plot according to
a perspective suggested by Garrett Stewart’s discussion of
narratography in Novel Violence and elsewhere.
Frank is Professor Emeritus of English at the University
of Oklahoma. He is the author of Charles Dickens and
the Romantic Self ; of Victorian Detective Fiction and
the Nature of Evidence: The Scientific Investigations of Poe,
Dickens, and Doyle ; and of essays on nineteenth-century
British and American literature and culture that have appeared
in various collections and journals, including American
Imago, the Dickens Studies Annual, Essays
in Criticism, Nineteenth-Century Literature,
Signs, and Studies in English Literature.
Holly FURNEAUX: Dickens, Sexuality
and the Body, or Clock Loving; Master Humphrey's Queer
Objects of Desire
Dickens's writerly fascination
with commodity culture and the effects of consumerism
on human relationships is one of the many distinctively modern
characteristics of his work. In this paper I look at the now lesser
known single authored miscellany, Master Humphrey's Clock,
that Dickens wrote between April 1840 and December 1841. Though
quickly deposed by the serialised novel which it first carried,
The Old Curiosity Shop, the frame narrative of Master
Humphrey's story telling circle, with manuscripts drawn from
the cavity of his beloved clock, has significant interrelationships
with The Old Curiosity Shop. Here I detail the particular
fascination with object relations explored in this periodical.
I unpack the clock's body, building upon work in thing theory and
on Dickens and commodity culture, to explore the significant emotional
and often eroticised relationships between human and object in the miscellany.
Extending my Queer Dickens project, I investigate Dickens's interest
in non-marital and non-reproductive desires, looking at the queerness
of clockwork as gender hybrid and site of alternative reproduction.
Holly Furneaux is a lecturer
in Victorian Studies at the University of Leicester. She
is author of Queer Dickens: Eroctics, Families, Masculinities
(Oxford University Press, 2009), co-editor, with Sally Ledger, of
Dickens in Context (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming
2011), and editor of an edition of John Forster's Life
of Charles Dickens (Sterling, forthcoming 2011). She is an
organiser of the annual Dickens Day in London and is part of the
committee for the 2012 bicentenary "Tale of Four Cities" conference.
In her current book project, an exploration of "Male Tenderness
in Wartime from the Crimea to the First World War", she develops
her interests in masculinities, tactillity, emotion, bodily care and
Elaine Freedgood, The Ideas in
Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (University
of Chicago Press, 2006).
Michael Hollington, "The Voice of
Objects in The Old Curiosity Shop", Australasian
Journal of Victorian Studies, 14 (2009).
Katherine Inglis, "Becoming Automatous:
Automata in The Old Curiosity Shop and Our
Mutual Friend", 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in
the Long Nineteenth Century, 6 (2008).
Juliet John, Dickens and Mass Culture
(Oxford University Press, 2010).
Sara Thomton, Advertising Subjectivity
and the Nineteenth-Century Novel: Dickens, Balzac and
the Language of the Walls (Palgrave, 2009).
Catherine Waters, Commodity Culture
in Dickens's Household Words' (Ashgate, 2008).
GINSBURG: Plotting (in) Barnaby Rudge
This paper will
deal with the relation between the plot of Barnaby
Rudge and the plot within the novel. How should we understand
Dickens's decision to depict the Gordon riots as a
"plot"? How does this plot fit within the larger plot
of the novel? The plot of Barnaby Rudge departs in
many respects from the conventions of plot already established
by Dickens at this point in his career. How can we understand
these modifications? how are they related to the representation
of the political plot? What are the similarities and differences
between the plot of Barnaby Rudge and the plot of another
novel dealing with mob violence, A Tale of Two Cities?
What do these similarities and differences tell us?
P. Ginsburg is Professor of French and Comparative
Literature and Director of the Program in Comparative
Literary Studies at Northwestern University. She is the
author of essays on Dickens’s Great Expectations,
Oliver Twist, Our Mutual Friend,
Dumbey and Son, The Old Curiosity Shop,
and Tale of Two Cities. She is a frequent participant
at the Dickens Universe project at the University of California
Jonathan GROSSMAN: Passenger Networks
What, this paper asks, was at stake
when with ten novels written, every single one of which opens
onto England and the English, Dickens decided to open Little
Dorrit internationally, onto Marseilles? And why should that
international opening read so strangely? The answer I will put
forward concerns Dickens’s understanding of historic shifts in
passenger networks. For while invoking global and timeless-sounding
claims about our journeying embracing "all we restless travellers
[moving] through the pilgrimage of life", Dickens nonetheless
synthesizes in Little Dorrit contemporary changes in imagining
simultaneity across international time and space.
Jonathan Grossman, an Associate
Professor at UCLA, is currently completing a book manuscript
on Charles Dickens and the nineteenth-century revolution in
public transportation, which led to the standardizing of time.
Michael HOLLINGTON: Charles
My paper will explore the
relationship between Dickens and radical politics
in France in his lifetime, in particular of course through
parallel literary figures such as Victor Hugo. Amongst the
topics to be discussed will be his critical perspective both on
Louis-Philippe and the July Monarchy and on Louis Napoleon and
the 2nd Empire (starting with his observing in Paris in the 1840s
Louis-Philippe's paranoia about assassination as he drives past
in his royal carriage); his publishing of Fourierist articles
in Household Words (E.S. Dixon on Toussenel); as well
as his response to Hugo's Le dernier jour d'un condamné
in Oliver Twist and elsewhere. The general focus will be on
the response of Dickens and Hugo to Les misérables
of Paris and London.
was Professor of English at the University of New South
Wales in Sydney, Australia until 2002 and Professor at the
University of Toulouse-Le Mirail until 2007. In 2007 he began
a new phase of work on Dickens, having previously published
Dickens and the Grotesque in 1982 and the four-volume Charles
Dickens: Critical Perspectives in 1995. In 2007 he organised
with colleagues and friends the successful Dickens and
Italy conference in Genova, which produced three books, two
of which he co-edited. He is currently at work on the two-volume
The Reception of Dickens in Europe for Continuum Press,
and involved in plans for the global celebration of Dickens's bicentenary
Juliet JOHN: Culture, Environment, Popularity
Jonathan Bate begins his essay "Culture and Environment:
From Austen to Hardy" (New Literary History, 30 (1999),
541-560) with the assertion that "At the end of the twentieth century,
the two most popular English writers of the nineteenth century are
Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy". The fact that Dickens is not mentioned
in the essay, even by name, is clearly strategic: Dickens challenges
Bate’s central claim that the posthumous popularity of Austen and
Hardy is directly related to their organic vision of the relation between
culture and environment, to their representation of a world "in which
people live in rhythm with nature" (p. 542). This paper will
explore the relationship between Dickens’s urban modernity and his popularity,
complicating without completely rejecting conservative, nostalgic readings
of the interplay between culture, environment and enduring literary
Juliet John is Professor of Victorian Literature
at the University of Liverpool. Her work on Dickens includes
Dickens's Villains: Melodrama, Character, Popular Culture
(Oxford University Press, 2001; paperback 2003) and Dickens
and Mass Culture (OUP, 2010). She has edited the Routledge literary
sourcebook on Oliver Twist (2006) and is editing the Dickens
bicentenary edition of Essays and Studies on Dickens and Modernity
(2012). She is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford (Online) Bibliography
of Victorian Literature and is editor of The Oxford Handbook
of Victorian Literary Culture (forthcoming, 2013).
John O. JORDAN:
Narrative Closure in David Copperfield and
The endings of Dickens’s
novels are always complicated. This paper will consider
some general features that make narrative closure in his
novels problematic and will look closely at the endings of
David Copperfield and Bleak House both as examples
of the larger dynamics of conclusion and as specific cases with
their own particular ambiguities and indeterminacy.
Miller, "The Problematic of Ending in the Novel",
Nineteenth-Century Fiction 33 (1978), 3-7.
Frank Kermode, The
Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967.
Closure in the Novel. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1981.
D.A. Miller, Narrative
and its Discontents. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1981.
John O. Jordan, Supposing
"Bleak House". Charlottesville, VA: University
of Virginia Press, 2011.
KENNEDY: Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? Crossovers
between Organic and Inorganic Matter in Our Mutual
In Our Mutual
Friend as in many of Dickens’s other novels, human
beings are often compared through metaphors and similes
to inanimate objects, and vice versa. Also, human beings
are often compared to animals, so that the lines between
the animate and the inanimate worlds, and the human and
animal kingdoms, become blurred. However, in addition to
this, in Our Mutual Friend, as Adrian Poole says,
the line between the living and the dead seems to be crossed
at times, partly because of the evolutionary imagery on which
the narrator draws. My paper will examine some of the most
significant examples of these metaphorical boundary-crossings
between the human and the non-human, the organic and the non-organic,
in order to try to describe what is new and different about
Dickens’s vision of his world in Our Mutual Friend from
the vision of the earlier novels.
Kennedy has been teaching in the Department of English
Language and Literature at Bilkent University in Ankara,
Turkey since 1997. Her publications include Edward
Said: A Critical Introduction, published by Polity
Press in 2000, and translated into Chinese Complex Characters
and Simplified Chinese. Her two-part essay, "Dickens and
Savagery at Home and Abroad", was published in The Dickensian
in 2008. Her current interests include Dickens, V. S. Naipaul,
Mary Kingsley, and Joseph Conrad.
Natalie McKNIGHT: Postmodern
Dickens: The Fragmented Self and Alternative
States of Consciousness
This paper will examine Dickens's
explorations of fractured and liminal consciousness, feelings
of self-alienation, and other states of consciousness that
depart from quotidian experience. Using scenes ranging from his
first novel (Pickwick Papers) to his last (The Mystery
of Edwin Drood) I will show that his interest in these conditions
continued and deepened throughout his career, and that his perceptions
about these states became increasingly nuanced and psychologically
astute. I will place his interest in the fragmented self in
the context of the increasing Victorian questioning of authority
which stemmed from the waning of the role of fathers in the home,
growing religious doubts (due to geological findings, Biblical scholarship
and Darwin), and loss of faith in government (displayed in Chartism
and general dissatisfactions with government bureaucracy). Dickens
questioned traditional sources of authority, including our authority
over our own selves.
I am Chair and Professor
of Humanities at the College of General Studies, Boston
University. I have published two books on Victorian fiction,
Idiots, Madmen and Other Prisoners in Dickens and Suffering
Mothers in Mid-Victorian Novels (St. Martin's/Palgrave), and
I have a third book forthcoming from Cambridge Scholars Press entitled
Fathers in Victorian Fiction. I am Co-Editor of Dickens
Studies Annual and Archivist and Subscription Manager of Dickens
Two Londoners: Charles Dickens and Virginia
Critical assessments of modernism
often set the representation of the modern city at the
core of their survey, for various reasons. These may be connected
with the form of urban space, or with the heightened visual
quality of the urban experience ; indeed the close focus on the
metropolis is a common theme spanning across the capitals of
European modernism. Two authors, one considered the essential
Victorian writer, the other a modernist — Charles Dickens and
Virginia Woolf — share an almost exclusive attachment to the city
of London, which becomes the locus, focus, theatre and discursive frame
of the urban experience they narrate. This paper compares urban discourse
as articulated by Dickens and by Woolf, seeking for instances of experimentalism,
polyphony, grotesque and mechanic apparitions, close-ups and
aerial views, accumulation, debris, magical realism and dilapidated
related to Dickens and Woolf
Charles Dickens and
Italy: ‘Little Dorrit’ and ‘Pictures from Italy’.
Ed. with Introduction (pp. xiv-xxvi) by M. Hollington and
F. Orestano, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing,
2009, pp. 295. ISBN 978 1443814430.
"Un cattivo sogno americano:
le American Notes di Charles Dickens". Quaderno,
Istituto di Lingue e Letterature Straniere dell'Università
di Palermo, n.11, 1979: 25-65.
"Dickens on the Indians".
Indians and Europe: an Interdisciplinary Collection
of Essays. Ed. Christian F. Feest. Aachen, Herodot, Rader
Verlag, 1987: 277-286; rpt. Lincoln, NE, University of Nebraska
Press, 1999, paperback, ISBN 09032 68971.
"Jacob’s Room: crisi
della prospettiva e ‘Trionfo della Morte’". La
tipografia nel salotto: saggi su Virginia Woolf. A c. O.
Palusci. Torino, Tirrenia, 1999: 149-166. ISBN 8877634502.
"The Magic Lantern and the
Crystal Palace: Dickens and the Landscape of Fiction".
Dickens: The Craft of Fiction and the Challenges of
Reading. Eds. R. Bonadei, C.de Stasio, C. Pagetti, A. Vescovi.
Milano, Unicopli, 2000: 249-269. ISBN 9788840 006536.
"Cézanne e la configurazione
del romanzo moderno nella riflessione critica di Virginia
Woolf". Il Cézanne degli scrittori, dei poeti,
dei filosofi. A c. G. Cianci, E. Franzini, A. Negri. Milano,
Bocca, 2001: 145-164.
"‘Pied beauty’: la parola
oltre i confini del linguaggio, ovvero del limite del
dualismo filosofia/estetica", in Scritture dell’immagine:
percorsi figurativi della parola. A c. A. d’Amelio,
F. de Giovanni, L. Perrone Capano. Napoli, Liguori, 2007:
"Pittoresco urbano, city-waif
novels e cultura visiva: dalla londra vittoriana a Hollywood".
Tempi moderni nella ‘children’s literature’: storie,
personaggi, strumenti critici. A c. F.Orestano. Milano,
CUEM, 2007: 5-120.
"Il dialogo come forma simbolica:
filosofia e conversation nella narrativa inglese".
Le trame della conoscenza: percorsi epistemologici
nella letteratura inglese dalla prima modernità al postmoderno.
A c. M. Bignami. Milano, Unicopli, 2007: 49-69.
"Virginia Woolf, The Waves,
and the discourse of knowledge: a dialogue between
the resolved soul and created pleasure". TEXTUS, English
Studies in Italy, vol. XVI (2003), No.2 (July-December),
The Epistemologies of the Novel, eds. M. Bignami, J.
Skinner, Genova, Tilgher, pp. 355-382.
"Virginia Woolf’s Orlando,
Knole and the Creation of Sissinghurst: ‘a green thought
in a green shade’", in Cultural Perspectives. Journal
for Literary and British Cultural Studies in Romania, n.
13, 2008: 38-62. ISSN 1224-239X.
"Charles Dickens and Italy:
the ‘New Picturesque’". In Dickens and Italy: ‘Little
Dorri’t and ‘Pictures from Italy’. Eds. M. Hollington,
F. Orestano, Cambridge, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009: 49-67.
ISBN 978 1 4438 14430.
"Magic Lantern, Magic Realism.
Italian Writers and Dickens, from the End of the XIX
c to the 1980’s", in The Reception of Charles Dickens
in Europe, ed. M. Hollington, Continuum Press, forthcoming.
"Virginia Woolf’s Between
the Acts: History as Text, as Fact, as Cultural
Experience", In [Literature and History] ed. M. Bignami.
"Dickens and the Vertigo
of the List: A Few Proposals", in Dickens dans
le Nouveau Millénaire. Dickens in the New Millennium.
Proceedings of the Aix-en-Provence 2010 Conference, ed.
L. Bouvard, M-A. Coste, C. Huguet, N. Vanfasse. Cahiers Victoriens
et Edouardiens, forthcoming.
David PARKER: Dickens's
The paper is intended
as a contribution to the round-table discussion proposed
by John Jordan, "Dickens and narrative structure: beginnings,
middles, endings". It will investigate the unsaid in the
construction of Dickens’s plots: developments and interconnections
not made explicit by the text, which the reader has to infer by
remembering what has preceded the passage he or she is currently
reading, by remembering in particular key moments in what has
preceded the passage he or she is currently reading. It will show
how Dickens designed beginnings, middles and endings to be related
as much in the mind of the reader as in the pages of the text.
is an Honorary Research Fellow at Kingston University,
London. He has taught at the University of Sheffield, the
University of London, and Britain’s distance-learning Open
University. From 1978 to 1999 he was curator of London’s Charles
He has published innumerable
papers on Dickens and on other literary topics. His
most recent book was Christmas and Charles Dickens
(New York: AMS Press, 2005). AMS Press is to publish his current
project, Pickwick and Reform.
Wendy PARKINS: Mobility and Modernity: Reading Barnaby
My title refers not only to mobility within the novel but also to the
mobility of the novel: how the novel travels across time and space, between
a Victorian readership and that of the present, and the mobile reading positions
that this mobility makes possible. My hypothesis is that readers today are
not much moved by Barnaby Rudge (and that it is therefore not much read compared
to other Dickens’s novels), that this Dickens’s novel has not travelled
particularly well, and I want to consider why this might be, by contrasting
Victorian readers with more recent critical interpretations and theoretical
accounts of reading, past and present.
PAROISSIEN: Dickens and the Voices of History
as crude and simplistic — a history of England written
by a child — Dickens’s A Child’s History of England
(1851–53) basks in neglect. Readers who subscribe to this
view flaunt their ignorance, victims of the amnesia Dickens
sought to address. Why do we need history and who needs it
most? Meditating on the importance of educating his own young
son, Dickens clearly understood the priority for children, although
the issues he explores carry equal relevance to adults, hence
his decision to publish the work serially in Household
Words. Admittedly, A Child’s History of England
lacks the trace of archival dust . But in forthright language,
Dickens sets out the case for taking history seriously as the
place to engage questions about the nature of power, the folly
of war, the losses of ‘the people’ and the false aura of the monarchy.
Birds of Prey and Snorting Cattle: Dickens’s Whig
Agenda of the 1840s”. Forthcoming.
Robert L. PATTEN: International
Dickens: Little Dorrit on the "Grand Tour"
Little Dorrit has most commonly been read as a novel
about physical, mental, and emotional imprisonment and about the stultifying
red tape of the British Government. On the contrary, this paper looks
at the novel as one elaborately concerned with mid-century European cultures
and global trade. Written while Dickens was spending a good portion
of his time in France, Little Dorrit attempts an understanding
of British and Continental industrialization and culture. It offers the
possibility that foreign locations can be translated into almost any
space, and provides a universal language. It rewrites Dickens’s 1844-46
Pictures from Italy and his travels from London to the Italian
peninsula. And in complicated ways it seeks to project the cultural constructions
of mid-Victorian England, especially London, government, and finance,
across the European Continent. Composed and published after the signing
of the first bi-national copyright agreement — with France —, the novel
also marks a new stage in Dickens’s sense of his international standing.
Robert L. Patten is
Lynette S. Autrey Professor in Humanities at Rice University.
For the past half-century he has been interested in the publishing
history of Dickens’s works, nineteenth-century British prints
and illustrations, issues around the formation of Victorian authorship,
and the structures and rhetorics of nineteenth-century fiction.
His two-volume biography of the graphic artist George Cruikshank
was selected by the (London) Guardian as the biography
of the 1990s. He hopes that the Cerisy talk might stimulate conversations
about how in the later years Dickens’s imagination expanded to
European and British imperial contexts.
Dickens and the Exploding World
Dickens is typically
seen as a writer of broad humanity, interested in the
fates of society as a collective organism and of many kinds
of individual. Nevertheless, his plots often privilege
pure exceptions, while his good outcomes can seem heavily
dependent on luck. This paper examines Dickens’s relationship
to debates about the reach of social and ethical responsibility.
Taking off from the concept of ‘telescopic philanthropy’ in Bleak
House, and paying attention to recent applications of Dickens
beyond Europe and North America, I will consider the relevance
of his writing to the question of how lines are drawn between communities
that engage concern and those that do not. I shall discuss to what
extent we may still understand and appreciate Dickens in what may
appear to be Anglocentric, quasi-Victorian terms, and to what extent
he can help us to think about the ‘exploded’ global present.
is Professor of Literatures in English at Aarhus
University, Denmark. His work on Dickens includes parts of
his books, Authorship, Ethics and the Reader: Blake,
Dickens, Joyce (1997) and Literature, Identity and
the English Channel: Narrow Seas Expanded (2002), as
well as a chapter on Dickens and France in Dickens, Europe
and the New Worlds, ed. Anny Sadrin (1999), and articles
in journals such as the Dickens Quarterly and the Victorian
Paul SCHLICKE: The topicality of Sketches
Dickens undertook major revision of his earliest published
writings on at least five separate occasions when he collected them
as Sketches by Boz. That the changes never satisfied him
is clear from his prefaces in 1839 and again in 1850, in which he
dismissed the sketches as juvenilia. One reason for that dissatisfaction,
I propose, was that the move from newspapers and periodicals into volumes
involved reconceiving for a wider audience what he had written as topical
journalism in the radical political press. In their original form
the sketches were ephemeral journalism, topically attuned to the burning
political issues of Reform, in ways which he found inappropriate for
works offered to his readers as literature. He did not change his political
outlook, but he did revise the sort of public image he wished to present
as a literary author.
Paul Schlicke has recently retired as senior
lecturer in English at the University of Aberdeen. He is author
of Dickens and Popular Entertainment, editor of the Oxford
Reader’s Companion to Dickens, and compiler of the bibliography
of Dickens in the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature,
3rd edn. He has prepared the Clarendon edition of Sketches by Boz,
collating collected editions with the original newspaper and periodical
versions; currently in production, this volume is due for publication
in 2012. Paul Schlicke is past president of the Dickens Fellowship
and of the Dickens Society of America, a founding member of the Dickens
2012 committee and past chairman of the board of trustees of the
Charles Dickens Museum in London.
TRENDAFILOV: Dickens and Some Urban Legends in Twentieth-Century
A popular issue
in the Bulgarian daily press throughout the 20th
century, among other things, was that during the Crimean
War Dickens visited Bulgaria as a war correspondent
and wrote about his experiences there in Household
Words. Nowadays we know (through Lohrli and others)
that this never happened — and that the unsigned contributions
to HW were penned by a host of authors. The interesting
thing, however, is that the myth stayed for almost a century,
structuring a solid part of the attitude towards the leading Victorian
novelist in the Bulgarian public sphere. In this paper I argue
that the professional-visit legend was used by the receiving
milieu as a powerful tool for domesticizing a foreign cultural
icon and putting it/him to a variety of symbolic uses.
1955. Professor of English literature with the Dept
of English Studies at the South-West University, Blagoevgrad,
Bulgaria. Has taught courses in history of nineteenth-
and twentieth-century English literature, literary anthropology,
twentieth-century British poetry, translation theory.
Chief publications involve: 1. Neizlichimiyat obraz v ogledaloto:
aktualnata bulgarska retseptsia na Anglia, anglichanina
i anglijskata misal prez XIX i nachaloto na XX vek. [The
Indelible Face in the Mirror: The Topical Bulgarian Reception
of England, English People and 19th-c. English Thought]. Sofia:
Kralitsa Mab, 1996 ; 2. Prevodna retseptsia na evropeiski literaturi
v Bulgaria. T. 1: Angliiska literatura. [Translation Reception
of European Literatures in Bulgaria. Vol. 1: English Literature].
Ed by Alexander Shurbanov and Vladimir Trendafilov. Sofia: Marin
Drinov, 2000 ; 3. Chapters on Victorian poets, Thomas Hardy, H.
G. Wells, Jerome Jerome, Popular Literature and the novel between
the world wars in (2) ; 4. "Literaturen vid i vreme: kriteriat prevodimost"
[Of time and literary type: the translation criterion], Literaturna
misal, 7, 1991: 3-20 ; 5. "Mezhdu buntovnika i administratora:
belezhki varhu retseptsiata na angliiskata viktorianska literatura
v Bulgaria" [Between the rebel and the clerk: notes on the reception
of Victorian literature in Bulgaria], Literaturna misal, 1-2, 1992:
Andrews, Charles Dickens and His Performing
Selves. Dickens and the Public Readings (Oxford : Oxford
Bodenheimer, Knowing Dickens (Ithaca : Cornell
Bowen and Robert L. Patten, eds., Palgrave Advances
in Charles Dickens Studies (Basingstoke : Palgrave
Ledger, Dickens and the Popular Radical Imagination
(Cambridge : Cambride UP, 2007).
Murail, Charles Dickens. Ouvrier à douze
ans, célèbre à vingt-quatre (Paris
: Ecole des Loisirs, 2005).
Monod, Dickens romancier (Paris : Hachette,
Ohl, Monsieur Dick ou le dixième livre
(Paris : Gallimard, 2004).
Paroissien, ed., A Companion to Charles Dickens
(Oxford and New Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishing, 2008).
Slater, Charles Dickens (New Haven and London
: Yale UP, 2009).
Waters, Commodity Culture in Dickens's Household
Words. The Social Life of Goods (Aldershot and
Burlington : Ashgate, 2008).
With the support of the University Charles-de-Gaulle
the University of Aix-en-Provence
and the Saint-Louis University of Madrid