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date: 17 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens seeks to emulate the accessibility, innovativeness, and imaginative interest inspired by its inimitable subject. Part I explores Charles Dickens’s personal and professional life. It examines Dickens as a popular writer in an age of significant cultural, political, scientific, industrial, and philosophical transition, and his impact as an entertainer, social and political commentator, philanthropist, and advocate for justice. Part II includes chapters on all Dickens’s major works and Part III illustrates how Dickens's works address issues concerning families, parents and children, their gendered organization and relationship to social structures of work, education, finance, classes, race, religion, and empire. It explores the socio-historic context of Dickens’s work examining such themes as industrialization, scientific progress, and the impact of history on the Victorian era. Part IV studies Dickens’s language and immense rhetorical range, the genres he deployed to create reading experiences that articulated selfhood, romance, realism, imagination, distress and sorrow, violence, and humour; the role that theatre going, theatrical inheritance, and writing, producing, and acting in dramas played in shaping Dickens’s imagination; and how he and his world came to understand the visual as not simply sensations yielding aesthetic pleasure and pain, but also as systems embedding information as fossils and stars embed the history of eons. Part V investigates the effects Dickens's creations have had on global culture and how twentieth- and twenty-first-century media adopted and adapted Dickens to different formats and situations.

Keywords: political commentator, philanthropist, industrial, scientific, work, education, finance, global culture, language, families

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