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Dickens by Numbers: the Christmas Numbers of Household Words and All the Year Round

McNicholas, Aine (0025) Dickens by Numbers: the Christmas Numbers of Household Words and All the Year Round. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the short fiction that makes up the annual Christmas Numbers of Dickens’s journals, Household Words and All the Year Round. Through close reading and with reference to Dickens’s letters, contemporary reviews, and the work of his contributors, this thesis contends that the Christmas Numbers are one of the most remarkable and overlooked bodies of work of the second half of the nineteenth century. Dickens’s short fictions rarely receive sustained or close attention, despite the continuing commitment by critics to bring the whole range of Dickens’s career into focus, from his sketches and journalism, to his late public readings. Through readings of selected texts, this thesis will show that Dickens’s Christmas Number stories are particularly powerful and experimental examples of some of the deepest and most recurrent concerns of his work. They include, for example, three of his four uses of a child narrator and one of his few female narrators, and are concerned with childhood, memory, and the socially marginal figures and distinctive voices that are so characteristic of his longer work. But, crucially, they also go further than his longer work to thematise the very questions raised by their production, including anonymity, authorship, collaboration, and annual return. This thesis takes Dickens’s works as its primary focus, but it will also draw throughout on the work of his contributors, which appeared alongside Dickens’s stories in these Christmas issues. In doing so this thesis aims to acknowledge the original conditions under which these stories were produced and published, but more importantly to underline the rich plurality of the Victorian periodical, which these Numbers demonstrate.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.667697
Depositing User: Ms Aine McNicholas
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2015 12:26
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10391

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