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Dickens and the Business of Death

$103.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107098633

$ 103.00 (C)
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About the Authors
  • Charles Dickens is famous for his deathbed scenes, but these have rarely been examined within the context of his ambivalence towards the Victorian commodification of death. Dickens repeatedly criticised ostentatious funeral and mourning customs, and asserted the harmful consequences of treating the corpse as an object of speculation rather than sympathy. At the same time, he was fascinated by those who made a living from death and recognised that his authorial profits implicated him in the same trade. This book explores how Dickens turned mortality into the stuff of life and art as he navigated a thriving culture of death-based consumption. It surveys the diverse ways in which death became a business, from body-snatching, undertaking, and joint-stock cemetery companies, to the telling and selling of stories. This broad study offers fresh perspectives on death in The Old Curiosity Shop and Our Mutual Friend, and discusses lesser-known works and textual illustrations.

    • The first full-length study of death and mortality in Dickens's creative works
    • Offers fresh readings of major novels in the Dickens canon, as well as discussion of lesser-known works, letters, journalism, and textual illustrations
    • Locates Dickens's views within a wider literary and social context, alongside writers including Henry Mayhew, William Blanchard Jerrold, and Thomas Hood
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… neatly-written, well-researched and persuasive …' Andrew Mangham, Dickens Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107098633
    • length: 241 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Profitable undertakings and deathly business
    2. Revaluing The Old Curiosity Shop
    3. Death and property in Bleak House
    4. Parts and parting in Our Mutual Friend
    Conclusion. Stealing Dickens
    Bibliography.

  • Author

    Claire Wood, University of York
    Claire Wood is a Research Associate in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York.

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