The Dickens Industry
Title Details

325 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Literary Criticism in Perspective

Imprint: Camden House

The Dickens Industry

Critical Perspectives 1836-2005

by Laurence W. Mazzeno

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
The story of the surprisingly fluctuating critical reputation of one of the great writers of the English language.
Undoubtedly the best-selling author of his day and well loved by readers in succeeding generations, Charles Dickens was not always a favorite among critics. Celebrated for his novels advocating social reform, for half a century after his death he was ridiculed by those academics who condescended to write about him. Only the faithful band of devotees who called themselves Dickensians kept alive an interest in his work. Then, during the Second World War, hewas resurrected by critics, and was soon being hailed as the foremost writer of his age, a literary genius alongside Shakespeare and Milton. More recently, Dickens has again been taken to task by a new breed of literary theoristswho fault his chauvinism and imperialist attitudes. Whether he has been adored or despised, however, one thing is certain: no other Victorian novelist has generated more critical commentary. This book traces Dickens's reputation from the earliest reviews through the work of early 21st-century commentators, showing how judgments of Dickens changed with new standards for evaluating fiction. Mazzeno balances attention to prominent critics from the late 19th century through the first three quarters of the 20th with an emphasis on the past three decades, during which literary theory has opened up new ways of reading Dickens. What becomes clear is that, in attempting to provide fresh insight into Dickens's writings, critics often reveal as much about the predilections of their own age as they do about the novelist.

Laurence W. Mazzeno is President Emeritus of Alvernia University, Reading, Pennsylvania.
Introduction
The Dickens Phenomenon (1836-1870)
The Birth of the Dickens Industry and the Reaction against Victorianism (1870-1914)
Dickens among the Moderns (1915-1940)
The Tide Turns (1940-1959)
Dickens and Mainstream Academic Criticism (1960-1969)
The Dickens Centenary and After (1970-1979)
Dickens in an Age of Theory I: New Theories, New Readings (1980-2000)
Dickens in an Age of Theory II: The Persistence of Traditional Criticism (1980-2000)
The Future of Dickens Studies: Trends in the Twenty-First Century

Laurence W. Mazzeno is President Emeritus of Alvernia University. Among other books, he has written volumes on Austen, Dickens, Tennyson, Updike,and Matthew Arnold for Camden House's Literary Criticism in Perspective series.

"[A] thorough overview of Dickens critics and criticism since the advent of Mr Pickwick . . . . What fascinates about this book is, first, the persistence of certain unresolved issues and problems in Dickens criticism and, second, the continuing challenge of verbalising what it is exactly that bothers critics about one of our best-loved Victorian novelists, whose very greatness flies in the face of what we regard as good taste. . . . Mazzeno helpfully divides his summaries of the 'Dickens industry' into meaningful chronological phases, each with its own bibliography. . . . [He] must have been reading Dickens for a lifetime, [and] handles the sheer bulk of his task with equanimity and fairness." TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT
"Foregrounds very clearly the particular assumptions, preoccupations, and methodologies adopted by these several generations of critics and commentators in a way that casts light in two directions: both on Dickens as a writer and back on the critics themselves, and their times.. Mazzeno's book proves ... the very real existence of a thriving and dynamic Dickens critical industry, and I am not aware of a single other work that profiles the material with such breadth and historical reach. --University of Buckingham" John M. L. Drew
"Mazzeno traces critics' attitudes toward Charles Dickens, beginning with his phenomenal popularity during his lifetime and continuing after his death through a half century of debunking ... Mazzeno does a remarkable job of providing succinct summaries and evaluations of 18 decades of critical commentary on Dickens's life and work ... An invaluable tool." CHOICE
"Even veteran Dickensians will benefit from Mazzeno's clear insight into the origins and consequences of critical shifts in Dickens studies." STUDIES IN ENGLISH LITERATURE
"The most impressive - and by far the most detailed - of attempts to analyze, categorize, and evaluate Dickens criticism in English." DICKENS QUARTERLY

Paperback

9781571135155

July 2011

Buy

$39.95 / £19.99

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Hardcover

9781571133175

September 2008

Buy

$90.00 / £75.00

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Ebook (EPDF)

9781571137906

September 2008

£19.99 / $24.99

Unavailable

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Title Details

325 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Literary Criticism in Perspective

Imprint: Camden House