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Subject:
From:
Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Sun, 2 Jul 1995 22:51:36 -0700
Content-Type:
text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
text/plain (155 lines)
Gill Gane's inquiry about Dickens and empire was sent to DICKNS-L
and to VICTORIA.  Posting on DICKNS-L was unavoidably delayed.
There have been four responses to the inquiry on VICTORIA, and
for Dickensians who may have missed them I am cross-posting them
here.  PJM

I.
______________________________________________________________
From: Ellen Jordan <[log in to unmask]>
Organization: Psychology, Newcastle University
Subject:      Re: Dickens and empire
To: Multiple recipients of list VICTORIA


Gill Gane writes:

> (2) to seek evidence of the empire's reception of Dickens--that
is,
> whatever can be found about the circulation of Dickens's works
and
> critical responses to them in the colonies; I'd be particularly
> interested in any influence he may have had on colonial writers
(V. S.
> Naipaul, for instance, has written something about this).  For
this
> second part I'm not period-bound, i.e. would welcome material
from any
> period.
One colonial oddity you could look for is in the memoirs of the
children's author Eleanor Farjeon.  Apparently her father had
been
working as editor of a newspaper in New Zealand (in Dunedin I
think) in the 1870s and sent some of his pieces to Dickens for
comment.  The story his children grew up with was that Dickens's
reply was so encouraging that he immediately gave in his notice
and
took ship for London.  However when he died they found the
original
letter which advised him to stay where he was, journalism in
England
being very competitive.

An interesting ABSENCE is the comparatively few pieces by Dickens
in
the Royal Readers (graded for primary school use) which were used
throughout the Empire.  I've had a look through my rather motley
collection and can find only one piece by Dickens, the great
sacrifice at the end of _A Tale of Two Cities_.  I can also
remember from my childhood a descriptive piece (which I couldn't
locate just now) called "A Storm at Sea" ("Onward she comes with
[something] lights burning in her hull").  I know it was by Dick-
ens
because our teacher gave us a graphic description of the docks in
New
York crowded with people waiting for the next number of _The Old
Curiosity Shop_ and shouting "Is little Nell dead?"  (This was in
Brisbane, Australia, in about 1948.)  There were of course far
more
poems by "great names" than prose pieces but even so the scarcity
is
surprising.

Just had another memory.  I think there was an extract from David
Copperfield where the waiter eats all his food at an inn.

Ellen Jordan,
[[log in to unmask]]
Department of Sociology,
University of Newcastle,
Australia.

II
_________________________________________________________________
_____
From: "Hastings, Waller" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Dickens and Empire
To: Multiple recipients of list VICTORIA

Gillian Gane writes:
> I'd be particularly interested in any influence he [Dickens]
may have had
> on colonial writers (V. S. Naipaul, for instance, has written
something
> about this).  For this second part I'm not period-bound, i.e.
would welcome
> material from any period.

     One of the significant threads in Rushdie's _The Satanic
Verses_
involves the filming of a version of _Our Mutual Friend_ - this
might
be a worthwhile place to look.

wally hastings
[log in to unmask]

III
_________________________________________________________________
___
From: Michelle Persell <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Dickens, Farjeon and Empire
To: Multiple recipients of list VICTORIA
              <[log in to unmask]>
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
Status: RO
X-Status:

For more information on the relationship between Benjamin Farjeon
and
Charles Dickens look for my forthcoming article, "Dickensian Dis-
ciple:
Anglo-Jewish Identity and the Christmas Tales of Benjamin Far-
jeon,"
forthcoming (Fall issue of 1995?--I just received the reprints)
in
_Philological Quarterly_.

*****************************************************************
***
*        Michelle Persell               per-
[log in to unmask] *
*       English Department                   Dept.: (805) 893-
3441 *
*    University of California
*
*    Santa Barbara, CA  93106
*
*****************************************************************
***

From: "Karen A. Droisen" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Dickens and empire
To: Multiple recipients of list VICTORIA


Dear Gill,

For your qn.#2, you might look at Salman Rushdie's *Midnight's
Children*.  It's opening paragraph echoes *David Copperfield*,
and it's structure and content echo and revise CD's *Great
Expectations*, as well as *DC*.  R's novel explores what a
postcolonial *bildungsroman* looks like for both postcolonial
Indian citizen and postcolonial Indian nation.

Rushdie's book of essays, *Imaginary Homelands* is also a useful
articulation of his views on
the difficult relationship between the postcolonial
subject/author and the British tradition.

good luck!   this is a rich and fascinating topic.

karen droisen
[log in to unmask]
university of virginia