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Dickens The Orphan Condition

Baruch Hochman; Ilja Wachs

1999

This study interprets Dickens's work through close analysis of its involvement with the imaginative and emotional implications of orphanhood and of the horror of abandonment that is inscribed in it. It shows how Dickens's ultimate loyalty is to the abandoned child. Indeed, it tracks the ways in which the development of his work is toward an ever more fierce critique of the world from within the perspective of that child. It demonstrates how Dickens's fiction comes to question all the forms that give shape to the self - status, work, citizenship, marriage, parenthood, property - and how it does so from the subjective vantage point of what may be termed the orphan imagination. Its thesis is that the shape of Dickens's novels is also determined by this perspective.