Charles Dickens (1812-1870) Experienced poverty as a child before becoming successful journalist and novelist Combined realist social criticism with humour, pathos (sentimentality) and vivid characterisation
Published books in instalments– monthly parts. Often episodic– a climax in each part, following by suspense (cliff-hanger) Literary career: 3 period The first period of youthful optimism The second period of excitement and irritation
The third period of steadily intensifying pessimism • Novels: • The first period: • Sketches by Boz • 1836-37 The Pickwick Papers
1837-38 Oliver Twist • 1838-39 Nicholas Nickleby • 1840-41 the old Curiosity Shop • Barnaby Rudge • The Second period • 1842 American Notes
1843-45 Martin Chuzzlewit • A Christmas Carol • The Chimes • The Cricket on the Hearth • 1846-48 Dombey and Son • 1849-50 David Copperfield
The Third Period • 1852-53 Bleak house • Hard Times • 1855-57 Little Dorrit • A Tale of Two Cities • 1860-61 Great Expectations
1864-65 Our Mutual Friend 1870 Edwin Drood (unfinished)
Main Features of His Works • A master story-teller—a great entertainer and a great artist. With the very first sentence, he engages the readers’ attention and holds it to the end; installment helps him cultivate an ability to sustain interest
through all kinds of literary devices, such as suspension, coincidence, dramatic dialogues and melodrama,etc. • Large audience—common interest and concern • Present London with an extraordinary vividness—
fog,smoke,pale dusty sunshine, shabbiness, variety, intimacy and vaastness. 2.Characters—the most distinguishing feature of his creation; both types and individuals;impressive—not because true to life, but larger
than life; humorous exaggerations of some well-marked human traits—personal speech,habitual gesture or behavior or physical peculiarity. Best at child character portrayal—innocent,virtuous,persecuted or helpless; spotless in thoughts, intentions and wishes; pure, refined
and gentle-hearted in heart and soul, e.g.Oliver Twist, little Pip. Write from a child’s point of view—instinctive, strong imaginations, vivid sensations; life as blank and white, and bigger than reality, not look at it with the eye of the wise, the intellectual or the
instructed observer; enemies—demons, friends– angels; joys or sorrows absolute and eternal. Horrible and grotesque figures—Fagin and Sykes. 3.Humour and Pathos– life itself a mixture of joy and grief; life delightful because it is at once comic and tragic; bright merriments and dark gloom at the same time,
mingling tears and laughter as in real life. 1.What are the features of the English literature inVictorian Period? 2.What's the theme of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist"?
3.What are the features of Charles Dickens's novels? 4. Summarize the story of "Oliver Twist". 1 Realism 2. Chartist Movement 3. Utilitarianism
1.The attempt in literature and art to represent life as it really is, without sentimentalizing or idealizing it. Realisticwriting often depicts the everyday life and speech of ordinary people. This has led, sometimes, to an emphasis on sordid details. 2. The worsening living and
working conditions, the mass unemployment and the new poor law of 1834 with its workhouse system finally gave rise to the Chartist Movement (1836-1848). The English workers got themselves organized in big cities and brought forth "The People's
Charter", in which they demanded basic rights and better living and working conditions. They) for three times, made appeals to the government, with hundreds of thousands of people's signatures. The movement declined to an end in 1848, and it did bring some improvement to the welfare of
the working class. This was the first mass movement of the English working class and the early sign of the awakening of the poor, oppressed people. 3. On the other hand, utilitarianism was widely accepted and practiced. Almost everything
was put to test by the criterion of utility, that is, the extent to which it could promote the material happiness. The Bible and the Evangelical Orthodoxy were regarded either as an outmoded superstition or tested by the principle of utility. Church service became a form instead of real
devotion. This theory held a special appeal to the middle-class industrialists, whose greed drove them to exploiting workers to the utmost and brought greater suffering and poverty to the working mass. Dickens, Carlye, Ruskin and many other socially
conscious writers severely criticized the utilitarian creed, especially its depreciation of cultural values and its cold indifference towards human feelings and imagination.
1. (1)in this period, the novel became the most widely read and the most vital and challenging expression of progressive thought. While sticking to the principle of faithful representation of the 18th century realist novel, the critical realists carried their duty forward to the criticism of the society and
defense of the mass. (2) The Victorian Age also produced a host of great prose writers. Many of them joined forces with the critical realist novelists in exposing and criticizing the social reality, and some became very influential in the ideological field. Historical accounts, religious dissertations, literary criticism, and
essays and lectures on various subjects constitute a formidable' force of influence upon the whole society. Meanwhile, they brought English prose to a very high point in both prose art and literary criticism. (3) The poetry of this period was mainly characterized by experiments with new styles and new ways of expression.
2.The novel is famous for its vivid descriptions of the workhouse and life of the underworld in the nineteenth century London.The author's intimate knowledge of people of the lowest order and of the city itself apparently comes from his journalistic years. Here the
novel also presents Oliver Twist as Dickens's first Child hero and Fagin the first grotesque figure· 3. Excellent narration,wonderful characterization, humour and pathos.