Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Recent research in cognitive science and attachment theory on the relationship between the quality of mother–infant attachment and cognitive development helps make sense of the sometimes dissociated mind states of the Dickensian narrative universe. This chapter offers a critical genealogy of ‘minding Dickens’, with its particular attention to the cognitive disturbances of Dickens’s orphan child. Further, it explores how Dickens’s narrative art embodies those disturbances through metonymy, repetition, forms of occluded vision, conflated descriptions of life and death. Finally, it makes two fundamental claims: (1) How we mind depends in part on how we feel attached; and (2) How Charles Dickens ‘minds’ David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Great Expectations—through dissociation, faulty Theory of Mind, faulty problem solving, moments of amnesia or of traumatic repetition, and experiences of a ‘false self’—embodies the relation of ‘broken brains’ to ‘broken attachments’ that so often distinguish the psychology and technique of Dickens’s narrative art.

Keywords: cognitive studies, attachment theory, affect, metonymy, first-person narrative, orphan mind, childhood, cognitive disturbance, dissociation, Theory of Mind

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.