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Updated Up To 18/01/2017
Volume 9, Issue 2 (June 2011) : 285-95
Subdued by the Dyerís Hand
Dickens at Work in Bleak House
David Paroissien
Rubric A: Divided Loyalties
Rubric B: Dickens

Abstract

 

This essay examines the implications of Dickensís statement in the preface to the one-volume edition of Bleak House (September 1853) that in the novel he ďpurposely dwelt upon the romantic side of familiar things.Ē This claim, I argue, goes to the core of Dickensís art as a writer, an art that combines the presentation of disturbing news about the contemporary state of society with a skilful attempt to provide narrative pleasure, pleasure designed to ensure that the narrator retains his hold over readers for 67 chapters. Dickensís achievement, I conclude, constitutes literary art of the highest order, one that instructs readers in social and ethical truths while also delighting them and holding their attention in the course of telling a compelling story.


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