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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The time is right to consider anew the ways in which Dickens anticipated, participated in, and critiqued the vast mediascape of Victorian children’s literature. In order to do so, we must continue to challenge our enduring bias that children’s literature does not possess the dialogic register of other genres. Dickens, for one, knew better: though he often tells his readers that children’s literature is a ‘nursery of fancy’ that socializes and humanizes through its ‘bright little books’, he shows a world in which children’s literature is an amorphous network of ‘dark corners’, often governed by ruthless, working-class bodies. Dickens’s fiction and journalism reveal his awareness of children’s literature’s growing currency in economic, cultural, and aesthetic terms. This chapter focuses on the years 1849–54, when Dickens’s child production matched his literary production, and when he was sharply attuned to children’s reading materials.

Keywords: children’s literature, fiction, journalism, folklore, affect

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