Dickens and Popular Entertainment

Dickens and Popular Entertainment

Dickens and Popular Entertainment

Dickens and Popular Entertainment


From early childhood, when my father used to read A Christmas Carol aloud each year by the family fireside, I have been fascinated by Dickens as the greatest of all entertainers. My desire to account for this interest has evolved over many years into the present book, and the debts of gratitude which I have incurred along the way are many.

Dorothy Van Ghent's essay 'The Dickens world: a view from Todgers” first taught me how Dickens could be both funny and profound. Philip Collins's books, articles and editions have shown me how deeply Dickens's concerns were rooted in their time, and Professor Collins's scholarship has provided a model worthy of emulation.

Long-suffering friends and colleagues have provided assistance of a more personal kind. For their encouragement, patience, faith and practical advice I am particularly grateful to Joe Ging, Elizabeth Grice, Liz MacLachlan, Robin MacLachlan, David Malcolm, Andrew Sanders, Michael Slater, George Speaight and Kathleen Tillotson.

My thanks also go to colleagues and students at the University of Aberdeen, especially to Robin Gilmour and Colin Milton, both of whom read early drafts of Chapters 4 and 5, and to Bob Lawson-Peebles, who read drafts of Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 6. Their constructive criticism has been challenging and helpful in more ways than I can say; the faults which remain are, of course, my own.

I am grateful to have had opportunities to test some of the ideas of the book in papers which I presented at the University of Kent, the University of Aberdeen, Wroxton College of Fairleigh Dickinson University, the University of Edinburgh, and the Aberdeen Literary Society.

For generous assistance with the research on which the book is based I wish to thank the librarians, archivists and staff of the following institutions: Aberdeen University Library, Aylesbury Central Library, Banbury Public Library, Birmingham Public Library, the Bodleian Library, the British Library, Buckingham

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