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Dickens's Villains

Juliet John

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780198184614
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191714214 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198184614.001.0001
Dickens's Villains

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This book studies Dickens's villains. They embody, the book argues, the crucial fusion between the ‘deviant’ and ‘theatrical’ aspects of his writing. Though there have been many studies of both the macabre and the dramatic Dickens, this book sets up a dialogue between these two main strands. The book's wider reappraisal of Dickensian character stems from a belief that post-Romantic criticism and theory has been permeated by an anti-theatrical privileging of the mind. Dickens's characters, by contrast, are commonly modelled on passional prototypes from 19th-century melodrama. The book's interdisciplinary study locates the rationale for Dickens's melodramatic characters in his political commitment to the principle of cultural inclusivity and his related resistance to ‘psychology’. Melodramatic villains function as the key site of Dickens's responses to theatricality, psychology, and cultural inclusiveness. This book suggests a new way of understanding the cultural and political implications of his melodramatic aesthetics.

Keywords: villains; 19th-century; Charles Dickens; post-Romantic criticism; melodrama; melodramatic aesthetics

Book.  272 pages. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Dickens's Villains

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Sincerely Deviant Women in Dickens's Villains

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