The Forcing Apparatus: Dombey and Son

Shuttleworth Sally

in The Mind of the Child

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582563
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702327 | DOI:
The Forcing Apparatus: Dombey and Son

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter examines discourses concerning child mental development in England during the 19th century. It offers extended literary readings of two mid-century novels which address questions of child education and development, set alongside an analysis of the social and scientific debates on over-pressure and precocity. These are Charles Dickens' Dombey and Son and George Meredith's The Ordeal of Richard Feverel. These novels addressed education in the context of temporal models of development and natural processes of growth and suggested that conceptions of child development are intricately enmeshed in the familial, social, and economic structures of their time.

Keywords: child development; mental development; England; education; Charles Dickens; Dombey and Son; George Meredith; The Ordeal of Richard Feverel

Chapter.  10539 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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