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Critical Insights: Charles Dickens

More than 175 years since Charles Dickens won over readers with his irrepressible Pickwick Papers, he still endures as one of the world's most beloved and influential novelists. But where general readers have long adored the author, critics have long been divided over his merits and faults. This volume in the Critical Insights series brings together a variety of new, classic, and contemporary essays on Dickens's most widely read works.

For readers studying Dickens for the first time, a brief biography will acquaint them with the essential details of his life, and a group of introductory essays will give them the background necessary for studying his work in greater depth. Subjects include how Dickens's novels helped Victorian readers understand and reconcile themselves with the rapid industrialization and urbanization of their time, the ups and downs of Dickens's critical reputation, and how Dickens interweaves reality and fantasy in Oliver Twist and other novels.

The volume continues with a selection of classic and contemporary essays that will help readers gain a deeper understanding of the critical issues surrounding Dickens's work. Critical insights are provided for Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Bleak House, and Little Dorrit, including Lionel Trilling's classic essay on Little Dorrit treats one of Dickens's perennial concerns-the relation between the individual and society-and declares that the novel's spiritual impulses make it fine company for The Divine Comedy and Pilgrim's Progress.

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