© Copyright 2007 - 2018 Peter J. Ponzio
Peter J. Ponzio

Reviews of Themes in Dickens

From Mark Schumacher; Associate Professor, Arts & Humanities Librarian, UNC Greensboro “This volume offers different looks at subjects of importance to Charles Dickens by examining not only his novels but other texts of his as well. The themes examined include class, prison, dreams and dreaming, and ineffectual institutions. In his introduction, an excellent presentation of the settings in which Dickens grew up, lived and wrote, the author describes the best audience for his work: ‘readers who have a working knwoledge of Dickens’s writings as well as a familiarity with his life and times.’ (p. 6) This book does a fine job of examining the lieterary elements of Dickens’s work while interweaving the socioeconomic situation of his time. The chapter on prisons demonstartes the interplay of Dickens’s own life, his nonfiction writings, and his novels. Having seen his family in Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison in London, when he was a child, Dickens later wrote in Sketches by Boz about the nature of imprisonment. Later, his depcition of prisons appears in Pickwick Papers, Little Dorrit, and a Tale of Two Cities, much of which is based both on his childhood experiences and the prisons he saw during his travels in the UNited States, written about in American Notes. The other topics discussed in this book have the same intermingling of life experiences and literary skill. Any library which serves students of English literature will find this book useful. In fact, thsi book should be considered by all libraries whose patrons enjoy literature.” Choice 360, September 2018 Edition: Ponzio, Peter J. Themes in Dickens: seven recurring concerns in the writings. McFarland, 2018. 188p bibl index ISBN 9781476672571 pbk, $39.95; ISBN 9781476631356 ebook, contact publisher for price; 56-0084. “This work for students, scholars, and general readers explores themes that deal with the transformation of Victorian society in the writing of Charles Dickens, encompassing his nonfiction, speeches, and letters, as well as his novels. Themes discussed include class distinctions, identity, dreams, social pretension, ineffective institutions, and prisons. Each chapter presents an overview of the theme, then looks at that theme in several of DickensAEs works, and discusses how Dickens recognized societyAEs ills and tried to make his reading public aware of them. The book also makes note of how DickensAEs life paralleled many of his characters. It includes b&w historical book illustrations. “ ([umlaut] Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR)
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