Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



There has been a considerable revival of interest in Dickens in the last thirty years. "As Bernard Darwin said when critical interest in Dickens was just beginning to gain momentum, ‘Mr. Pickwick once took another glass of punch just to see whether there was any orange-peel in it, because orange-peel always disagreed with him; and we can now all read Dickens yet again just to see if we were wrong about him.'" Edmund Wilson's seminal essay “Dickens: The Two Scrooges" appeared first in 1940 and again in The Wound and the Bow in 1947. Humphrey House's valuable Dickens World came in 1941. Dame Una Pope-Hennessy’s and Hesketh Pearson's biographies of 1945 and.1949 could not replace the standard work by Dickens's friend and confidant John Forster, but in 1952 Edgar Johnson published his two-volume work, Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph, which is now the standard biography or Dickens. It contains information not only known to Forster, but also some which Forster had suppressed or distorted because or his closeness to his subject. The modem form critic Dorothy Van Ghent was the author or another seminal essay "On Great Expectations" in her book The English Novel: Form and Function in 1953. George Ford's book Dickens and His Readers is an extremely useful review of Dickens criticism. Many critics have in the last twenty years seen fit to consider or reconsider Dickens. Ada Nisbet's article on Dickens in Victorian Fiction: A Guide to Research is a useful work for material up to 1964. In 1970 the centennial observance of Dickens's death was the occasion of' many critical publications. Among the most useful in general terms was Angus Wilson’s The World of Charles Dickens and Charles Dickens: A Critical Anthology edited by Stephen Wall, which gathers together the most important Dickens criticism. Recently Clarendon Press published two volumes or The Letters or Charles Dickens covering the years 1820 to 1841 edited by Madeline House and Graham Storey. Also published recently are Charles Dickens' Uncollected Writings from 'Household Words' in two volumes covering 1850 to 1859 edited by Harry Stone. Alexander Welsh's The City or Dickens published in 1971 by Clarendon Press treats this very important urban aspect or Dickens' work both historically and metaphorically. In the course or this thesis almost all of the important modem Dickens critics will be cited or referred to. The magnitude of a complete bibliography of Dickens criticism is too great to be dealt with here. The critics have been chosen to represent the most important critical opinions and also the most valuable opinions specifically on Dickens's moral criticism. It is hoped that the thesis itself will provide a rather extensive review of the literature on the topic

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 -- Religion and ethics
Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 -- Criticism and interpretation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University