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 Volume 17/1, includes forum "Narrative Selves"
 January 2019

 Volume 16/2, includes forum on Monika Fludernik's Towards a 'Natural' Narratology
 June 2018

 Volume 16/1 includes forum "Modernity and Mobility: Victorian Women Traveling"
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 June 2012

 Volume 10/1: includes forum "Fernando Pessoa and the Issue of Heteronymy
 January 2012

 Volume 9/2: Dickens: Uneasy Pleasures
 June 2011

 Volume 9/1
 January 2011

 Volume 8/2: British Women Writers
 June 2010

 Volume 8/1 includes forum "The Ethics of Temporality"
 January 2010

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 June 2009

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 Quick Article Search

   Newest Articles

 Response Essay
 Monika Fludernik

 Experience, Affect, and Literary Lists
 Eva von Contzen

 Posthuman Narration as a Test Bed for Experientiality
 Marco Caracciolo

 The Curse of Realism
 Karin Kukkonen

 More than Minds
 Jonas Grethlein

 Toward the Non-Natural
 Maria Mäkelä

 Two Conceptions of Experientiality and Narrativity
 Dan Shen

 Against Nature
 Brian McHale

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Updated Up To 26/06/2018
Volume 9, Issue 2 (June 2011) : 219-31
Reading Dickens Writing London

Murray Baumgarten
Rubric A: Literature and the Ideas of Space
Rubric B: Dickens

Abstract

 

Carlyle’s view of modern life as a palimpsest serves as a postulate for his Victorian contemporaries and successors, who make it into the defining idea of the modern city. Following Carlyle's lead, they explore the urban palimpsest, yet nor for them is his prophetic voice of guilt and punishment. Rather, in exploring the uneasy pleasures in the juxtaposition of the urban layers of modern experience, in The Pickwick Papers, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend and other novels Dickens strikes the modern note of the attraction of repulsion as well as shifting, alternating, alternative realities. The boundaries of class and species are honeycombed by pathways which hum with traffic and constant crossings of the layers of the palimpsest of modern urban life, and the reader navigates among unstable places together with the narrators who are often split and divided along the fault lines of urban life.


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