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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Dickens’s use of interludes as a narrative device in serial publication. Interludes feature characters immediately recognizable when they appear and reappear at intervals, and are only tangentially involved in the central narrative. They are often absorbed in the drama about themselves they are performing. Often comically eccentric in behaviour and language, interludic characters vary the tone and texture of the dark patterns Dickens weaves into the 20 monthly numbers of a serial novel. Mrs Gamp’s greed allows Dickens, at play as auctor ludens, to parody the Chuzzlewits’ deadly sin. In the first number of Little Dorrit, Miss Wade predicts how Dickens’s story will develop. Playing within his own novel, Dickens lets her interrupt his narrative with a narrative of her own, and delay the resolution of his plot.

Keywords: interlude, serial publication, Phiz, pattern, design, connection, monthly numbers, Mrs Gamp, Miss Wade, Jingle

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