Dickens and the Grown-up Child

Dickens and the Grown-up Child

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224 pages

"A penetrating, authoritative and beautifully written study that throws a flood of new light on one of the central preoccupations of all Dickens's work."-Michael Slater

Dickens's writings parade before us a gallery of bizarre hybrids—the child who stops growing, infantile senility, the "old-fashioned" child, child-wives and child-mothers, the rejuvenated adult. Dickens and the Grown-up Child focuses on the complicated and unresolved relationship between childhood and adulthood in Dickens's fictional and nonfictional work. In challenging the familiar view that the source of such anomalies lies in Dickens's own childhood experiences, Malcolm Andrews explores the extent to which Dickens was heir to an older cultural debate about primitivism and progressivism, a debate which Dickens adapted to his own preoccupations with tensions between childhood and maturity.

In examining these issues, Malcolm Andrews concentrates on the fiction of Dickens's middle years, particularity David Copperfield, and on some of the journalistic essays. Far from being just another book on the children of Dickens's fiction, Dickens and the Grown-up Child is a provocative examination of the tangled relationship between childhood and adulthood as Dickens imaginatively renegotiates it in his novels, short stories, and essays.