The Test of Truth

George Levine

in Dying to Know

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780226475363
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226475387 | DOI:
The Test of Truth

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This chapter investigates Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend. The “epistemology of death” in Dickens' novel means to be quite literal about the word epistemology. Our Mutual Friend pushes the moral resolution of detachment to the very point of death, as though the only way to escape contamination from the world of buying and selling were through death. Dickens's continuing difficulty in imagining active and socially engaged figures who could remain worthy heroes is exacerbated in Our Mutual Friend. It appears the most intrinsically acquiescent in the dominant dying-to-know model. The women's secondariness has a double effect on the experiment and the epistemological implications of Our Mutual Friend. It is also a powerful dramatization of the narrative of scientific epistemology.

Keywords: Charles Dickens; Our Mutual Friend; scientific epistemology; detachment; death; secondariness; dying-to-know model

Chapter.  10785 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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