Roget's Int'l Thesaurus
Fowler's King's English
The King James Bible
Brewer's Phrase & Fable
Frazer's Golden Bough
Shelf of Fiction
The Victorian Age, Part One
INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS
The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes
Volume XIII. The Victorian Age, Part One.
their author may be thought to have been a little oblivious of the sarcasm
contained in his own Mr. Wellers suggestion that Mr. Pickwick should escape from the Fleet in a pianner to America and then come back and write a book about the Merrikins asll pay all his expenses and more if he blows em up enough. But, though the subjects of the description probably disliked even more the subsequent utilisation of his experiences in the novel, the extra-severity of which, to some extent, they had provoked by their complaints,
this latter was much more legitimate; and
undoubtedly, is one of Dickenss greatest successes. A hint has been given above that, here again, the present writer cannot acknowledge true tragedy in Dickens. Jonas may not be an absolutely impossible creature, but his improbability, as he is presented, is so great, and his ethical-aesthetic disgustingness is so little palliated by actual touches of natural or of artistic power, that he becomes intolerable to some people, and has upon the book the same effect as might be produced by a crushed black beetle between its actual leavesthat of an irrelevant and intruded abomination. His father is of the Ralph Nickleby and Gride order, with too slight a difference; and Mercy, like others of Dickenss mixed characters, is not mixed convincingly. But, once more, all this could be cut out with perfect ease and then you may say Heres richness indeed. There is, in the bulk of the book, and in the majority of its characters, an intensity of
a warmth of imagination which excites the composition of the writer, only to be found in
earlier and never surpassed, and seldom, even in
equalled later. Martin himself, whether unreformed or reformed, may have too much of the stock quality which clings strangely to nominal heroes; his grandfather may have some of the old touch of the theatrical tarbrush; Tom Pinch may want a little disinfecting of sentimentalism for some tastes. But the Pecksniffs, Mark Tapley, Mrs. Gamp, Todgerssany number of minorities display the true Dickens, once more,
Whether the American scenes were, at the time, over-coloured in fact, is now, merely a historical question. That they justify themselves artistically few competent judges will deny.
and its second crop in fiction, Dickens had begun the remarkable series of Christmas books which, probably, gave him almost as much popularity, in the strictest sense of the word, as any other part of his work. Beginning in 1843 with
A Christmas Carol,
they continued annually through
The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life
The Haunted Man
for five years and only ceased when the establishment of
changed them to Christmas stories of smaller bulk which, in that paper and in
All the Year Round,
were scattered over the rest of his life and produced some things perhaps of greater literary value than the books. The division, though partly, if not wholly, accidental in origin, is a real one; and the first batch only had better be noticed here, reserving the stories for subsequent criticism.
. This, no doubt, was aimed at Mrs. Trollope. Marryat had not yet written.
. The indignation, though natural, was scarcely wise. There are, on the whole, more compliments than reproaches; the real sting does not come out till
itself, and no institution, except the sore place of slavery, is seriously attacked. As a book,
though amusing enough, perforce lacks the peculiar fantastic attraction of the novels; and, perhaps, in it, the tendency to exaggerated description, which, later, was to be, sometimes, almost disastrous, first displays itself.
INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS