Charles Dickenss Networks: Public Transport and the Novel

Paperback | November 3, 2013

byJonathan H. Grossman

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The same week in February 1836 that Charles Dickens was hired to write his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, the first railway line in London opened. Charles Dickens's Networks explores the rise of the global, high-speed passenger transport network in the nineteenth century and the indelibleimpact it made on Dickens's work. The advent first of stage coaches, then of railways and transoceanic steam ships made unprecedented round-trip journeys across once seemingly far distances seem ordinary and systematic. Time itself was changed. The Victorians overran the separate, local times keptin each town, establishing instead the synchronized, "standard" time, which now ticks on our clocks. Jonathan Grossman examines the history of public transport's systematic networking of people and how this revolutionized perceptions of time, space, and community, and how the art form of the novel played a special role in synthesizing and understanding it all. Focusing on a trio of road novels byCharles Dickens, he looks first at a key historical moment in the networked community's coming together, then at a subsequent recognition of its tragic limits, and, finally, at the construction of a revised view that expressed the precarious, limited omniscient perspective by which passengers cameto imagine their journeying in the network.

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The same week in February 1836 that Charles Dickens was hired to write his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, the first railway line in London opened. Charles Dickens's Networks explores the rise of the global, high-speed passenger transport network in the nineteenth century and the indelibleimpact it made on Dickens's work. The advent ...

Jonathan H. Grossman is Associate Professor of English at UCLA. He is also the author of The Art of Alibi: English Law Courts and the Novel (2002).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pagesPublished:November 3, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019968216X

ISBN - 13:9780199682164

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Table of Contents

IntroductionOne: The Speeding of the Pickwick Coach1. Time2. Space3. Serialization4. SystemsTwo: On Tragedy's Tracks1. In Clock2. A Tale That Is Tolled3. Clock StrikesThree: International ConnectionsPerspectiveSimultaneityPlottabilityAfterword

Editorial Reviews

"Grossman gathers his material convincingly. At every stop along the line we're offered something both fresh and useful for the journey ... In the 200th anniversary year of his birth, Grossman's book is a stimulating contribution to the Dickens Roadshow." Gee Williams, Review 31 01/03/2012