City Laureate

Jenny Hartley

in Charles Dickens: A Very Short Introduction

Published in print February 2019 | ISBN: 9780198714996
Published online February 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780191783203 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions

City Laureate

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  • Biographical Studies
  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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‘City Laureate’ describes Charles Dickens as our first and best novelist of the city. London in the mid-19th century was the supreme modern urban space and Dickens its chronicler. Dickens took the city for his first subject, and was instantly recognized for his skill in skewering what everyone had seen, but nobody else had consciously noted. Dickens saw himself as the presiding spirit of the city. The first to celebrate the experiences of metropolitan living, he was also first to explore its horrors. To redress some of these evils, Dickens looked to practical solutions. He campaigned for sanitary reforms, which would cleanse the city, and supported ragged schools for the poorest children.

Keywords: All the Year Round; Barnaby Rudge; Bleak House; Charles Dickens; Dombey and Son; John Forster; Great Expectations; Old Curiosity Shop; Our Mutual Friend; Sketches by Boz; A Tale of Two Cities

Chapter.  6087 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biographical Studies ; Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century)

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