Chapter

Dickens’s spectres: sight, money, and reading the ghost story

Andrew Smith

in The Ghost Story, 1840–1920

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780719074462
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700006 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719074462.003.0003
Dickens’s spectres: sight, money, and reading the ghost story

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This chapter summarises Charles Dickens's view of the ghost story. It presents some close readings of A Christmas Carol, ‘The Signalman’ and ‘A December Vision’. In A Christmas Carol, Dickens uses ghosts to critique the economic system and to pardon capitalism. In ‘A December Vision’, Dickens tries to represent the ghost of the industrial economy as it spreads poverty throughout the country. Finally, it shows that Dickens's fascination with the allegorical mode of the ghost story and the ways such allegories can be read are addressed in ‘The Signalman’.

Keywords: ghost story; Charles Dickens; A Christmas Carol; The Signalman; A December Vision; economic system; capitalism; industrial economy; allegorical mode

Chapter.  8718 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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