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Science, Love, Literature: John Donne and Constance Naden

Mahitosh Mandal, Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Kolkata, India

Abstract

This paper attempts to understand how science is blended with literature in John Donne and Constance Naden, how the blending is a patterned one, and how a new poetics is developed out of this. Along with this is analyzed how literature can become a valuable document for science, especially for recording its reception. Consequently, both the socio-cultural emergence and development of science and literature are considered.

Revisiting Untraded Paths: Literary Revisions of Eighteenth-Century Exploration Journals

Miriam Fernández-Santiago, University of Granada, Spain

Abstract

The present article proposes a revision of the American imperialistic, scientific, literary and historical origins as they were encoded and re-coded in the writings and rewritings of exploration journals. It theorises on the reciprocal influence that the official and the personal, the scientific and the fictional, the historical and the epical have in the production of a national referent as it is inscribed within the American travel-writing tradition. This article proposes an allegorical and literal reading of “line drawing” in its study of texts by William Byrd, Charles Mason and Thomas Pynchon, which merges experienced and reported realities into a complex multi-text.

Charles Dickens’s A Child’s History of England and Spain

José Ruiz Mas, University of Granada, Spain

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Abstract

In this article I endeavour to analyse the image of relevant Spanish historical figures such as King Pedro I, Catherine of Aragon, Christopher Columbus, Philip II, the Spanish Armada and other pro-Spanish English characters such as Mary I, as depicted in Charles Dickens’ A Child’s History of England (1851-53). In his overtly didactic attempt to convey a specific image of the legendary antagonism existing between Spain and England to his contemporary English children and youngsters through this peculiar history book, Dickens amply shows his prejudiced view of Spanish history and his overtly patriotic description of England’s history. Proof of the relevance and the persistence of Dickens’ anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic attitude that prevailed in English society throughout the second half of the 19th century is that C. R. L. Fletcher and Rudyard Kipling insist on similar ideas of Anglo-Spanish relations in A School History of England (1911).

Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin and Mr Bucket: Mid- Nineteenth-Century Intimations of the Thought-Police

Maria-Ana Tupan , University of Bucharest, Romania

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Abstract

The detective as a literary character was co-fathered within a brief interval from each other by Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens, but Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin , who appears in three stories of the former  – “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841), “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” (1842), and “The Purloined Letter” (1844) –  and low-born, illiterate Bucket, who wreaks havoc upon an ancient aristocratic family in Bleak House, were hatched within nests of widely different social and cultural provenance. The American boy treated to the long-established traditions of institutionalized education in the Old World, and the English child worker, whose father was imprisoned for debt, were a Victorian version of the Prince and Pauper plot.  Our new-historicist approach to these early samples of detective fiction seeks to throw light on the discursive negotiations which may be invoked in an explanatory narrative of the polar representations of one and the same professional class shortly after the creation of the metropolitan police.

“Murdering the Innocents”: The Dystopian City and the Circus as Corollary in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times and Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus

Stacey Balkan, Bergen Community College, New Jersey

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Abstract

There is perhaps no novel that offers a more scathing commentary on nineteenth century conceptions of leisure and industry than Charles Dickens’ Hard Times. Dickens’ description of Coketown, nay Preston, is a caricature of utilitarian uniformity and the commodification of workers in post-industrial England. Ostensibly Marxist in its depictions of those men of “facts and calculations”—clearly Jeremy Bentham and Adam Smith—Dickens offers a community of “hands” covered in soot toiling under the vulgar Bounderby.  Counterpoised against these laborers is the whimsical cast of Mr. Sleary’s circus. Using the circus as a corollary to the dystopian city, he anticipates Angela Carter’s Neovictorian romp through London, St. Petersberg, and Siberia wherein the characters of Nights at the Circus likewise offer an antidote to similarly oppressive prescriptions for economic prosperity.

Heart versus Head: Hard Times as a radical critique of Industrial Capitalism

Manjeet Rathee, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak

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Hard Times, published in 1854, at the time of the initial ‘textile phase’ of the England’s Industrial revolution, is a powerful indictment of the inherent exploitative and repressive character of the emerging industrial system that based itself on the reduction and dehumanization of the factory workers as mere mechanical units of manufacture and production, devoid of any human sentiments and emotions. Rightly described as ‘the socially conscious novel’, or ‘the condition of England’ novel’, Hard Times, offers to present, through its structural principle of ‘the conflict of opposites’, an extremely authentic and radical critique of the class exploitation in a newly industrializing England economy that in its overenthusiastic adoption of industrial capitalist ethos tended to threaten the very existence of human individual into a machine and that of the industrial worker into a mere unit of ‘labor power.’ This was sought to be done at various levels ranging from public life in a factory to private existence in a family affecting crucial decisions of love and marriage and through the role of power in education system affecting the growth and development of children as thinking and imaginative individuals. The novel, through its two chief advocates of industrial capitalism- Gradgrind and Bounderby- provides a socio-economic critique of the times of early phase of capitalism when the processes of production were ideologically privileged over the inhuman existence of the workers and when a uniform monotonous life of facts found supremacy in private as well as public life, institutional structures and value system that guided the middle nineteenth century England. The resultant crisis referring to working class reactions in the form of various militant actions has aptly been described by one of the eminent historians of the Industrial Revolution:

Dark Side of the Moon: Dickens and the Supernatural

Soumya Chakraborty, Jadavpur University

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Abstract

Quite overshadowed by Dickens the social reformer and Victorian England’s most popular and prolific author, lay Dickens a man fascinated with the occult and the supernatural, a practitioner of mesmerism, a believer in the pseudo-science of phrenology, a man so obsessed with the Gothic that time and again he registered a covert, symbolic re-emergence of it throughout his works. Dickens harboured a lifelong attraction towards the supernatural, evidenced in his childhood fondness for the weekly magazine The Terrific Register, dealing with themes of ghosts, murder, incest and cannibalism, and in the several ghost-stories interspersed throughout the corpus of his work. Deeply involved in the 19th Century debates over the existence of spirits and the veracity of ghost sightings, Dickens oscillated between faith in the existence of the other-worldly and scepticism. Always concerned with the psychological aspect of the supernatural, Dickens’ work shows a constant engagement with the eerie, the uncanny and the grotesque. This paper attempts to explore not only the evolution of the theme of the supernatural in Dickens’ works but also his changing attitudes towards it.

Cultural Outlook of Literary Dialect in Hard Times and Silas Marner

Serir-Mortad Ilhem, Abu Bekr Belkaid University, Tlemcen, Algeria

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Abstract 

This paper is an attempt to help plug the oral utterance as it occurs in dialogue with the cultural impact in a given society, i.e. to explain the cultural significance of the variants and indicate how the use of dialect by humble characters can interpret a whole system of society mapped by Dickens and Eliot in Hard Times and Silas Marner respectively. Otherwise, the paper is designed to provide the type of speech community in Hard Times and Silas Marner besides the different cultural components of such communities that could the dialectal variables, used by the different characters in the novels, amply reflect through their speech. Hard Times and Silas Marner offer interesting raw material for literary dialect analysis, since each of dialect characters denotes a linguistic strategy to reflect cultural interpretation.

Hard Times as a Dickensian Dystopia

P. Prayer Elmo Raj, Karunya University Coimbatore

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Abstract

Hard Times is a dystopia. Hard Times investigates and launches the deplorable Victorian industrial society through the presentation of its setting and characters. The society which the Hard Times explores is one characterized by poverty, denial and oppression. Freedom and happiness were established by the political and economic elites. Right to think and right to fancy was determined by the dominant. The prevalent Utilitarian educational philosophy created havoc in the lives of pupils who were prepared to work in the factories. This paper is an attempt to map the dystopian account of Victorian industrial society as portrayed by Charles Dickens in the Hard Times.

The Reconstruction of Identity of the Gentleman in Great Expectations

Madhumita Majumdar, Bhangar Mahavidyalaya, Kolkata

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      When people say that Dickens could not describe a gentleman, what they mean is …that Dickens could not describe a gentleman as gentlemen feel a gentleman. They mean that he could not take that atmosphere easily, accept it as normal atmosphere, or describes that world from the inside….Dickens did not describe gentleman in the way that gentlemen describe gentlemen…He described them…from the outside, as he described any other oddity or special trade.

G. K. Chesterton only put into words what was usually thought of Dickens during his life time. It was usually believed that Dickens could not describe a gentleman because he was himself not one. In 1871, Forster’s The Life of Charles Dickens reported the imprisonment of Dickens’ father on charges of debt non-payment and his own childhood employee status in the blacking factory. This revelation only gave confirmation to Dickens’ detractors that he was not the conventional gentleman. It stood ratified more by the words of Dickens daughter: ‘My father was not a gentleman – he was too mixed to be gentleman.’ (Kate Dickens Perugino, The Dickensian; 1980). When Dickens was writing his contemporary happened to be William Thackeray. Both Dickens and Thackeray were novelists of the middle-class emergence but at opposite ends of the scale. Thackeray’s area was the land between the aristocracy and the middle classes while Dickens was concerned with the lower reaches of the middle class in its most anxious phase of self-definition, struggling out of trade and domestic service.

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