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THURSDAY 25 AUGUST (7 PM) TO THURSDAY 1 SEPTEMBER (2 PM) 2011



DICKENS, MODERNISM, MODERNITY

(Version française)


CONFERENCE CHAIR : Christine HUGUET

CONFERENCE THEME :

The 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.

The bicentenary 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
Afternoon:
RECEPTION OF PARTICIPANTS

Evening:
Presentation of the Center, the conference and participants


Friday 26 August
Morning:
Dickens and France
Michael HOLLINGTON: Charles Dickens Citoyen
Ignacio RAMOS GAY: Dickens, France, and Comparative Proto-Ecocriticism (read by Christine HUGUET and Nathalie VANFASSE)

Afternoon:
Reception Issues 1
Juliet JOHN: Culture, Environment, Popularity
Dominic RAINSFORD: Dickens and the Exploding World
Paul SCHLICKE: The topicality of Sketches by Boz

After-Dinner Talks:
Gillian PIGGOTT: Dickens and Charles Chaplin


Saturday 27 August
Morning:
Dickensian Objects
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

Afternoon:
FREE (Mont-Saint-Michel)


Sunday 28 August
Morning:
Form and Narrative 1 (Beginnings, Middles, Endings)
David PARKER: Dickens's Plots
John O. JORDAN: Narrative Closure in David Copperfield and Bleak House

Afternoon:
(Post)Modern Dickens
Francesca ORESTANO: Two Londoners: Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf
Natalie McKNIGHT: Postmodern Dickens: The Fragmented Self and Alternative States of Consciousness
Adina CIUGUREANU: Mania and Melancholia in Dickens’s Fiction (David Copperfield and Great Expectations)

After-Dinner Talks:
Wendy PARKINS: Mobility and Modernity: Reading Barnaby Rudge


Monday 29 August
Morning:
Form and Narrative 2
Lawrence FRANK: 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

Afernoon:
Oblique, Ambiguous Dickens
Valerie KENNEDY: Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? Crossovers between Organic and Inorganic Matter in Our Mutual Friend
Matthias BAUER & Angelika ZIRKER: Dickens and Ambiguity

After-Dinner Talks:
Dinner at the Château de La Salle. Reading by Michael HOLLINGTON


Tuesday 30 August
Morning:
"Philothophy", Life Philosophy, Sense of History
John BOWEN: "The Philothophy of the Thubject"
David PAROISSIEN: Dickens and the Voices of History
Andrew BALLANTYNE: Dingley Dell: Pickwick Papers’ lieu de mémoire

Afternoon:
FREE (Coutances)

After-Dinner Talks:
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
Morning:
Reception Issues 2
Murray BAUMGARTEN: Dickens and the Jews/the Jews and Dickens
Vladimir TRENDAFILOV: Dickens and Some Urban Legends in Twentieth-Century Bulgaria

International Dickens
Jonathan GROSSMAN: Passenger Networks

Afternoon:
FREE (Bayeux)

After-Dinner Talks:
Robert L. PATTEN: International Dickens: Little Dorrit on the "Grand Tour"


Thursday 1 September
Morning:
Ignacio RAMOS GAY: Dickens, France, and Comparative Proto-Ecocriticism (read by Christine HUGUET and Nathalie VANFASSE)

Afternoon:
DEPARTURES

ABSTRACTS :

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.

Matthias BAUER & Angelika ZIRKER: Dickens and Ambiguity
We would 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 attention.
Our case 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 be overcome.

Matthias 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".

Angelika 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 Pleasures".


Murray BAUMGARTEN: 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.

Employment History:
1996-2011: Neufeld-Levin 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

Selected Publications:
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 Carlyle Collection.
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 the Thubject"
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 Narrators?
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).

Adina CIUGUREANU: Mania and Melancholia in Dickens’s Fiction (David Copperfield and Great Expectations)
This presentation 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.

Adina 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.

Lawrence FRANK: 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 Species.
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.

Lawrence 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 life writing.
Formative Bibliography
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).


Michal P. 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?

Michal 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 Santa Cruz.

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 Dickens Citoyen
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.

Michael Hollington 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 in 2012.

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 appeal.

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 Bleak House
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.

J. Hillis 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.
Marianna Torgovnick, 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.


Valerie KENNEDY: Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? Crossovers between Organic and Inorganic Matter in Our Mutual Friend
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.

Valerie 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 Quarterly.

Francesca ORESTANO: Two Londoners: Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf
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 objects.

Publications 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: 29-42.
"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. Forthcoming.
"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 Plots
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.

David Parker 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 Dickens Museum.
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 Rudge
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.

David PAROISSIEN: Dickens and the Voices of History
Dismissed 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.

"Parrots, 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.

Dominic RAINSFORD: 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.

Dominic Rainsford 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 Newsletter.

Paul SCHLICKE: The topicality of Sketches by Boz
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.

Vladimir TRENDAFILOV: Dickens and Some Urban Legends in Twentieth-Century Bulgaria
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.

Born 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: 138-51.

BIBLIOGRAPHY :

Malcolm Andrews, Charles Dickens and His Performing Selves. Dickens and the Public Readings (Oxford : Oxford UP, 2006).
Rosemarie Bodenheimer, Knowing Dickens (Ithaca : Cornell UP, 2007).
John Bowen and Robert L. Patten, eds., Palgrave Advances in Charles Dickens Studies (Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).
Sally Ledger, Dickens and the Popular Radical Imagination (Cambridge : Cambride UP, 2007).
Marie-Aude Murail, Charles Dickens. Ouvrier à douze ans, célèbre à vingt-quatre (Paris : Ecole des Loisirs, 2005).
Sylvère Monod, Dickens romancier (Paris : Hachette, 1953).
Jean-Pierre Ohl, Monsieur Dick ou le dixième livre (Paris : Gallimard, 2004).
David Paroissien, ed., A Companion to Charles Dickens (Oxford and New Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishing, 2008).
Michael Slater, Charles Dickens (New Haven and London : Yale UP, 2009).
Catherine 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 Lille 3,
the University of Aix-en-Provence
and the Saint-Louis 
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