By Robert Higbie
Against this background he discusses Dickens's works from Pickwick to Our Mutual Friend, showing that both an idealist emphasis on imagination and a realist distrust of it evolved in complex ways throughout Dickens's career. He argues that Dickens's novels involve a search for some sort of spiritual ideal and that he based that search on imagination. At the same time, Dickens recognized the limitations of imagination and attempted to transform it through the process enacted in his novels.
During a period when,criticism has been dominated by ideological orthodoxy, Higbie does not impose modern, quasi-political attitudes on his subject but rather accepts the past sympathetically on its own terms. His work is refreshingly free of jargon and offers an alternate way of thinking about literature and the creative process.