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Dickens, Novel Reading, and the Victorian Popular Theatre (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture)

Dickens, Novel Reading, and the Victorian Popular Theatre (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture)

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Deborah Vlock
Cambridge University Press, 12/10/1998
EAN 9780521640848, ISBN10: 0521640849

Hardcover, 242 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.7 cm
Language: English

Dickens' novels, like those of his contemporaries, are more explicitly indebted to the theatre than scholars have supposed: his stories and characters were often already public property by the time they were published, circulating as part of a current theatrical repertoire well known to many Victorian readers. In this 1998 study, Deborah Vlock argues that novels - and novel-readers - were in effect created by the popular theatre in the nineteenth century, and that the possibility of reading and writing narrative was conditioned by the culture of the stage. Vlock resuscitates the long-dead voices of Dickens' theatrical sources, which now only tentatively inhabit reviews, scripts, fiction and non-fiction narratives, but which were everywhere in Dickens' time: voices of noted actors and actresses and of popular theatrical characters. She uncovers unexpected precursors for some popular Dickensian characters, and reconstructs the conditions in which Dickens' novels were initially received.

List of illustrations
Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
2. Dickens and the 'imaginary text'
3. Theatrical attitudes
performance and the English imagination
4. Patter and the politics of standard speech in Victorian England
5. Charles Mathews, Charles Dickens, and the comic female voice
6. Patter and the problem of redundancy
odd women and Little Dorrit
7. Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index.

"[Vlock] has shown why explanations of the cultural context of novel-reading that emphasize privacy and domesticity are unsatisfactory. She has pointed to a more promising direction for research." D.G. Paz, Albion