Chair: Professor Matt Campbell (University of York)
Criticism is in many ways an art of quotation. Dickens wrote so much worth quoting that cutting him short, as quoting must do, can take away as much, or more, than it gives: the rich play of voices in a passage, its complex embeddedness in plot, its place in a thick texture of allusion and cross-reference. But this was a problem that both Dickens and his characters, many of whom are inveterate quoters of earlier literary texts, veritable human jukeboxes, had to deal with too. John Bowen will explore Dickens’s use of quotation and allusions through a range of texts, particularly Sketches by Boz and Dombey and Son. He will also discuss the role of quotation in Dickens’s ‘autobiographical fragment’ and his extensive plagiarism in the treatment of racial violence and slavery in American Notes.