|Module Title||CHARLES DICKENS: THE NOVELIST AS JOURNALIST?|
|Co-ordinator||Professor Lyn Pykett|
|Semester||Intended for use in future years|
|Next year offered||N/A|
|Next semester offered||N/A|
|Course delivery||Seminars / Tutorials||20 Hours Seminar. (10 x 2 hour workshop seminars)|
1. to enable students to acquire a knowledge and understanding of a range of writing by one of the major English novelists of the nineteenth century;
2. to explore issues of form and genre in fictional and non-fictional prose;
3. to examine the interrelationships between the novel and journalism in the nineteenth century;
4. to explore some of the issues relating to the serial publication of fiction in the nineteenth century.
Described by Walter Bagehot as a kind of 'special correspondent for posterity', Charles Dickens began his professional writing career as a journalist: first as a parliamentary reporter, then as author of sketches for daily and weekly papers (later collected as Sketches by Boz). His first 'novel', The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, began life as a series of monthly sketches to accompany some sporting prints by a well-known illustrator, and was reviewed (as were Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby) as a magazine or miscellany. Throughout his extremely successful career as a novelist, Dickens published his fiction in weekly or monthly parts, and much of it appeared first in magazines. Dickens was himself the founder and editor (or, as he put it, conductor) of two popular general interest weekly magazines, Household Words (1850-1859) and All The Year Round (from 1859). We shall look at a range of writing in a variety of forms from throughout Dickens's career, and explore the making of Dickens the novelist and the making and (so to speak) the makings of the English novel in the nineteenth century. We shall pay close attention to issues of form and genre and the relationship between writer and audience. We shall also look at Dickens as a social commentator and investigator, as flaneur, as representer (or creator) of a particular version of urban modernity.
Seminars 1 & 2: The world according to Boz
Topics to be explored will include: the strolling spectator; the representation of the city; the shaping of character and narrative.
Seminars 3 & 4: The world according to Pickwick
Topics for discussion will include: sporting sketches, the country and the city, parliament and the law, is it a novel and what kind of novel is it?'
Seminar 5: The Shadow of Household Words
This seminar will look at Dickens's journalism of the 1850s
Seminars 6 & 7: Weekly reports on 'hard times'
Topics for discussion will include: the condition of England, the age of machinery; the making of the modern subject; the uses of melodrama; the idea of community.
Seminar 8: An Uncommercial Traveller in the human interest line
This seminar will look at some of Dickens's contributions to All the Year Round.
Seminars 9 & 10. 'In these times of ours'
Topics will include the decline and fall of the British Empire, money and class, the way(s) we live now, the traffic in goods and people, the 'boofer lady', the multiple plot, and the transformations of fairy tale.
Sketches by Boz and Charles Dickens: Selected Journalism are available from Penguin at #7.99 and #9.50 respectively. All of the other texts are available in cheaper paperback editions. Penguin, Oxford World's Classics and recent Everyman editions all have good introductions and helpful notes.
This module is at CQFW Level 6