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date: 25 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Dickens’s playful engagement with material culture, noting key stylistic features and the implications for subject–object relations. It distinguishes between objects that the narrative marks as significant and others that remain part of the mise-en-scène and examines how commodity criticism and thing theory have raised different types of objects to prominence. Subsequent discussion of a talking antique chair in The Pickwick Papers, bottles of Madeira wine in Dombey and Son, and gifts sent to the author by an admirer explores the importance of long-lived objects to Dickens’s material imagination. Entwining the endurance of things with the impermanence of human life, Dickens’s persistent objects offer further ways to think about the relationship between people and things, and the stories they might tell about one another.

Keywords: Dickens, material culture, subject–object relations, commodity culture, thing theory, storytelling

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