Dickens’s Global Circulation
Oxford University Press
© The Author(s), 2018.
This chapter synthesizes research on the global circulation of Dickens. Beginning with the transatlantic context of Dickens Studies today (Part I), it moves to the place of Dickens in current debates about World Literatures and Translation Studies and the global circulation of Dickens’s novels in Part II. Its second and main section focuses on Dickens outside Britain, Europe, and North America, in terms of geography as well as literary traditions: New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Socialist Poland, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic, with some reference to more widely studied areas such as Spanish, Russian, and Indian literary traditions. It urges us to think less in terms of originality and derivation than of circulation, appropriation, use, and their corollaries of triangulation, transculturation, revoicing, (re)mediation. When we consider the role of Dickens in cultural translation and transculturation, he has ‘meant’ both migration and settlement, class warfare, revolution, critique of neocolonial ideological state apparatuses, care of orphans/children, critique of capitalism, socialism, gender and domestic relations, sociology and psychology of crime and deprivation, Christian solutions to social divisions and suffering, dialect, demotics, and the vernaculars of the street. He has represented extreme psychology and individual identity, for which the muletilla (in Galdós, ‘tagging’ for Katherine Mansfield in New Zealand), a pet word or phrase repeated inadvertently showing a character’s ‘tic’ or deep psychology, was much adapted. He has also represented the divisions between country and city, as in Henry Lawson’s studies of an Australian national ethos torn between its traditions of the bush and its rapid centralization in cities. Societies caught between traditional cultures and the forces of modernization give rise to ‘Dickensian’ novels, ‘Dickensian’ characters, ‘Dickensian’ affect, ‘Dickensian’ institutions and so forth, showing that comparable conditions give rise to formal resemblances.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Oxford University Press via the DOI in this record.
Chapter 48 in The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens. Editors: Jordan J, Patten R, Waters C., pp. 722-737.
Place of publication