Charles Dickens's Networks: Public Transport and the Novel

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9780199644193: Charles Dickens's Networks: Public Transport and the Novel

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 indelible impact 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 kept in 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 by Charles 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 came to imagine their journeying in the network.

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About the Author:


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.

Review:


"Grossman is a rigorous and provocative reader of Dickens, and his interventions in Charles Dickens's Networks is most welcome; the volume connects not only Dickens but narrative conceived more broadly to a deeply compelling and warping effect in spatiotemporal perspective that occurred throughout the nineteenth century. ... Grossman's book is indeed provocative and, in its deep rigor, that it will stand the test of time and space." --Victorian Studies


"This carefully documented study will be of interest not only to students of Dickens but also to anyone interested in Victorian history and culture. ... Recommended." --J.D Vann, Choice


"The great pleasure of this book lies in its nuanced, attentive close readings. ... Like the systems that it depicts, the volume is beautifully constructed in terms of the cumulative argument forged by its individual chapters. Charles Dickens's Networks presents a nation transformed by a rapidly expanding transport system; Grossman's ambitious analyses of narrative form promise a similarly transformative effect on Dickens criticism. --Claire Wood, The Review of English Studies


"Written with considerable esprit, Charles Dickens's Networks is a fascinating and provocative study of the connections between social history, narrative theory, and Dickens's fictional construction of the ways in which Victorian experience was being remade by the new systems of transport ... [it] is a major contribution and one that will enrich our thinking about transport, systems, and the increasingly networked reality of nineteenth-century life that the novels represent and interrogate. --Iain Crawford, Dickens Quarterly


"Grossman's close engagement with the texture of each work is a constant delight." --Review 19


"[I]lluminating, and invigorating." --Judith Flanders, Times Literary Supplement


"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


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 indelible impact 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 kept in 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 by Charles 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 came to imagine their journeying in the network. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199644193

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