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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.

Dickens the Crime Writer: a Reading of Dickens’ Pioneering Crime Novels

Shukla Chatterjee,  Dr. B. C. Roy College of Pharmacy and AHS, Durgapur, West Bengal, India

 Sanjukta Banerjee, Durgapur Society of Management Science, Durgapur, West Bengal, India

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 Abstract

The context of crime and detection has always produced sensation amidst readers since the dawn of the genre of detective fiction in the eighteenth century. In line with other specific detective fiction authors, elements of suspense, thriller, mystery and crime are often found in the works of Charles Dickens. Though the presence of such literary forms in Dickens’ writings are primarily a result of Victorian obsession towards crime, jail, prison and policing, Dickens is read more as a social novelist rather than a crime writer. A close analysis of Dickens’ great body of work including both fiction and non-fiction marks the evolution of crime fiction from the initial success of the detective story to the height of Holmes’ popularity in the early twentieth century. In spite of this insight, Dickens’ crime writing is perhaps an undervalued aspect. In this paper, therefore, we propose to read Dickens, as a crime writer with reference to his revolutionary crime novels and try to find a reason for undervaluing his aspect of crime writing which in a way would attempt to prove either his success or weakening of his ability as a crime writer.

Drama and the Politics of Climate Change in Nigeria: A Critical Appraisal of Greg Mbajiorgu’s Wake Up Everyone

Norbert Oyibo Eze, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka

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 Abstract

Johnny Igbonekwu observes that ‘an obvious primal instinctive human quest” is to “conquer the world” but he equally notes that man has not been able to achieve this goal, in spite of his “formidable intellectual assaults on the multifarious stupendous mysteries of the world” (Talk About Man 1). The quest for all manner of domination-economic, political, territorial, and spatial, etc, has driven man into invention and mindless application of technology which in choking nature, cause it to frequently retaliate through global warming, tsunami, landslide, erosion, and flooding of different dimensions. The constant decimation of human lives, businesses, buildings, and municipal services as well as the emergence of perturbing diseases owing to these palpable effects of natural disaster, force the issue of climate change to occupy a significant place in the world of environmental studies and research. This paper seeks to explain the place of drama in tackling the problem of climate change through a detailed analysis and interpretation of Greg Mbajiorgu’s Wake Up Everyone considered to be a giant impact assessment study and provocative wake-up call.

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