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Charles Dickens and 'Boz'
The Birth of the Industrial-Age Author

$78.00

  • Date Published: June 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107023512

$78.00
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About the Authors
  • Winner of the 2012 Colby Prize! Dickens' rise to fame and his world-wide popularity were by no means inevitable. He started out with no clear career in mind, drifting in and out of the theatre, journalism and editing before finding unexpected success as a creative writer. Taking account of everything known about Dickens's apprentice years, Robert L. Patten narrates the fierce struggle Dickens then had to create an alter ego, Boz, and later to contain and extinguish him. His revision of Dickens' biography in the context of early-Victorian social and political history and print culture opens up a more unstable, yet more fascinating, portrait of Dickens. The book tells the story of how Dickens created an authorial persona that highlighted certain attributes and concealed others about his life, talent and publications. This complicated narrative of struggle, determination, dead ends and new beginnings is as gripping as one of Dickens' own novels.

    • Tracks Dickens' efforts to establish himself as a famous author
    • Describes the conditions for producing and publishing journalism, serials, magazines and fiction in the early Victorian era
    • Offers a new take on early Dickens, timed to be published in the year of the 200th anniversary of his birth
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    Prizes

    • Winner of the 2012 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize from the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This is clearly distinguished work that will change the way we see Dickens, moving as it does forward through Dickens’s career from uncertain beginnings rather than retrospectively in the terms that, as a powerful, exemplary industrial age author, he shaped and long controlled posthumously. The study is intimately tied to periodicals and tells us new things about them, above all (for me), the slippage and blurred boundaries between the periodical (for Pickwick, sui generis, was even called a periodical in some notices and received letters to the editor in early numbers) and the novel."
    --Judges of the Colby Prize

    "In Charles Dickens and "Boz" , Patten analyses the myth of Dickens, much of which, as he reveals, stems from the stories that the author like to tell about himself in later life."
    -Grace Moore, Literary Criticism

    "Including substantial notes, bibliography, and index, this is a superb study for any serious reader of Charles Dickens's work."
    --Choice

    "Through his unrivalled knowledge of a rich but messy archive, Patten makes an impressively coherent case out of a story full of loose ends, changed minds and abandoned plans, as readers, publishers and critics sought to chain down the protean Boz." Dickens Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107023512
    • length: 428 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.74kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Prologue
    1. Christening Boz (1812–34): The Journalism Sketches
    2. Characterizing Boz (1834–7): Sketches by Boz
    3. Writing Boz (1836–7): The Pickwick Papers
    4. Hiring Boz (1837–9): Bentley's Miscellany and Oliver Twist
    5. Paying Boz (1838–9): Nicholas Nickleby
    6. Rewriting Boz (1839–41): Master Humphrey's Clock and The Old Curiosity Shop
    7. Unwriting Boz (1841): Master Humphrey's Clock and Barnaby Rudge
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Robert L. Patten, Rice University, Houston
    Robert L. Patten is Lynette S. Autrey Professor in Humanities at Rice University.

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