Dickens & Women ReObserved
Edward Guiliano (Ed.)
Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd.
About this book
Dickens & Women ReObserved is a rich collection of new essays by scholars and critics from various parts of the world who represent a new appreciation and understanding of Charles Dickens and things woman.
A new generation of scholars and critics, first led by feminist critics of the 1970s, began to re-observe the man and his works with fresh eyes. A second generation of critics—those now schooled in gender studies, cultural studies, psychological theory, play theory, eco-criticism, thing theory, and a range of isms and schisms that flourish in the academy today—have originated a new and more reflective discourse on Dickens and women, and women generally in the nineteenth century.
Collectively, the essays in this volume overturn a prevalent and largely unchallenged belief held for more than 150 years: that Dickens’ female characters were one-dimensional Victorian stereotypes only and that, as exemplified by his literary depictions and conflicted personal life, he did not understand or value women as important, capable, or gifted in their own right.
While neither ignoring nor discounting Dickens’ troubled relationships with women and reliance on certain Victorian stereotypes, the essays in Dickens & Women ReObserved demonstrate that in a myriad of ways Dickens’ appreciation of women in his fiction and his life was far more subtle, sophisticated, and complex than previously understood. Consciously or unconsciously he crafted characters more individualized, independent, rounded, and assertive than typical stock cultural characterizations of women. Additionally, in his exuberant social and professional life, he was drawn to and worked amiably with such “new” women. Dickens life and work today appear evidently modern and nuanced in his regard for women and their abilities.
Dickens & Women ReObserved is an important work for comprehending one of the world’s greatest novelists and, by extension, facilitating greater study of contemporary views of Victorian women. In prose accessible to the general reader as well as scholars in literary studies, the diverse essays in this volume investigate a broad range of subjects in Dickens’ celebrated artistry, including Modernism, Queen Victoria, Ellen Ternan, adaptations, composition methods, gender, sensuality, agency, major female characters, and French as well as African relevancies.
Complex Women Because of or Despite Dickens?: An Introduction
“Making a Rosebud of Her Mouth”: Erotics, Semiotics, and Agency in Dickensian Female Mouth
“Raving with Love for the Queen”: Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria, and British Belonging
Adrienne Munich and Anthony Teets
Romance Games: Gender and Play in Nicholas Nickleby and The Old Curiosity Shop
Dickens’ Feminist Heroines: Edith Dombey and Louisa Bounderby
The Complications of Virtue: Florence Dombey and Lizzie Hexam
Bleak House, Esther Summerson, and Gendered Identity: A Material Feminist Rereading
The Design on the Skin: Rosa Dartle’s Scar as Multisignifying Palimpsest
Esther’s Potential “Visible Facts”: Visual Language and the Problem of Perception in Bleak House
Megan L. Hansen
Navigating the Beauty and Brokenness of Humility: Esther Summerson and Amy Dorrit as Presented by Dickens and Adapted by Hopcraft, Davies, and Edzard
“You Can’t Look at Me Out of a Child’s Eyes”: Vision, Gender, and Knowledge in Dickens’ Little Dorrit
Devilishly Attractive: Dickens on French Women
Claire E. Woods
Dickens’ Women in Great Expectations Against the African Social Landscape
Masumi Odari and Ciarunji Chesaina
Holiday Romance: Subversive Girls in Dickens’ Fiction
Francesca Orestano Nelly Onstage: Writing Our Mutual Friend
“A Horrid Female Waterman”: The Contentious Legacy of Grace Darling in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend
Refraction and Reflection in the Swiss Chalet: Controlling Femininity in “George Silverman’s Explanation”
Margaret Flanders Darby
The Woman Detective in The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Dickens Among Women Modernist Writers
Selected Bibliography: Dickens and Women / List of Contributors / Index
About the author
Edward Guiliano is Professor and President Emeritus of New York Institute of Technology and a writer and thought leader on several topics of global importance. As a literary scholar, he specializes in the works of Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens. His books include: Lewis Carroll Observed, ed., Lewis Carroll: A Celebration, ed., Lewis Carroll: An Annotated International Bibliography; Soaring with the Dodo, ed., The Annotated Dickens and Lewis Carroll: The Worlds of his 'Alices' (EER 2019).
He is a long-time editor of the Dickens Studies Annual: Essays on Victorian Fiction and is a founding member of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, as well as a past president.
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