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     nullrenggli thumbKarmakar Bowles‌‌  Rebecca Lyons‌‌‌

Emily Bowles


Born out of curiosity as to why – and how – we read certain authors and texts biographically, my PhD project investigates Dickens’s self-representation from 1858 to 1870, and changing representations of Dickens in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century (up to 1939). Little critical attention has been given to biographies and other representations of Dickens as texts in themselves; even Forster’s seminal Life of Charles Dickens has largely been explored for its reticence and exclusion in the light of later discoveries about Dickens’s life, not for its role in creating an influential image of the author that dominated for decades. I will assess why certain aspects of the biographical Dickens have retained prominence and influence in Dickens studies by exploring the wealth of material that appeared during this period from family, friends and others, against the background of the genre of Victorian biography and its concerns with revelation and reticence, and the changing role of the author in the public imagination.

This project builds on work I did for my MA dissertation ‘More Than A Fly-Leaf: Charles Dickens's Writings 1867-1870’, which I also completed at the University of York as part of the MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture.