Radical Dickens

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

Radical Dickens

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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Charles Dickens was a life-long radical. According to Forster, it was Dickens’s childhood experiences that instilled ‘the hatred of oppression, the revolt against abuse of power, and the war with injustice under every form.’ Dickens would unfailingly take the side of the poor and the underdog. His vision darkened with age, but although his focus changed, the radicalism never left him. ‘Radical Dickens’ outlines his early targets and sledge-hammer blows through a variety of media. Throughout the 1850s, his magazine, Household Words, addressed important and controversial issues: factory conditions, slum housing, public health and hygiene, women’s employment, education, emigration, crime and prison discipline, and government bureaucracy and administration.

Keywords: childhood; crime; Charles Dickens; education; Household Words; prison

Chapter.  5967 words. 

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

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