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The Violent Effigy A Study of Dickens' Imagination by John Carey
  

The Violent Effigy A Study of Dickens' Imagination

Synopsis

The Violent Effigy A Study of Dickens' Imagination by John Carey

An exploration of the strange poetry of Dickens's imagination by leading academic and critic John Carey.Setting aside the usual interpretations of Dickens's work, A Violent Effigy delves into the wonderful, terrible fantasy world it inhabited. It shows Dickens torn between the appeal of violence and a fanatical orderliness: he was attracted by characters who commit murder or burst into flame or want to eat one another, but also required people soaped and regimented. The children he created were either the pious gnomes beloved of Victorian readers or callous, sharp-nosed children who pick out adults by the odd personal atmospheres they carry around. Among his females are mythic women whose insidious miniature weapons - needles, scissors - threaten the dominant male. He created a shadow-land between life and death, peopled by effigies, walking coffins, waxworks, stuffed creatures and disturbingly animated corpses. John Carey skilfully shows how Dickens demolished Victorian shams, while keeping at bay the terrors of his fantasy. He celebrates, above all, Dickens' peculiar genius for renewing the world by the curious lights he saw in it.

About the Author

John Carey

John Carey is Emeritus Merton Professor of English at Oxford University, a distinguished critic, reviewer and broadcaster, and the author of many books, including studies of Donne, Dickens and Thackeray. His guide to twentieth century literature, Pure Pleasure, was described by James Wood in the London Review of Books as 'likeable, wise and often right . . . One feels an attractive sense of partisanship in Carey's writing, an alliance with the ordinary, the plain spoken, the unlettered, the sympathetic and the humane. Carey writes with an Orwellian attention to decency'. His celebrated polemic What Good are the Arts? provoked much debate and discussion in 2005. He has been a regular critic on BBC2's Newsnight Review, and is also the editor of the best-selling anthologies The Faber Book of Reportage, The Faber Book of Science and The Faber Book of Utopias.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th December 2008

Author

John Carey

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Author's Website

www.johncarey.org/

Publisher

Faber & Faber

Format

Paperback
184 pages

Categories

Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900

ISBN

9780571247790

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