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From:
Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 7 Jul 2016 17:05:09 -0700
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Friends of the Dickens Forum,

     We take it that Robert Tracy's textual question about the 
Self-Tormentor has had
an answer.  Now Susan Jhirad  ([log in to unmask] net) asks a 
question about the meaning of her
"history."  Often raised, the query is worth raising again now: (pjm)

Not being a literary scholar, merely a close and ardent reader of 
Dickens, I cannot answer your question. I do find, however, the "History 
of a Self-Tormentor" one of the most curious and enigmatic pieces in all 
of Dickens. Why give so much space, indeed a whole chapter and 
narrative, to a character he apparently dislikes? Is her story about 
class shame and pride( certainly a recurrent theme in Dickens' life and 
novels) or is it, as some have asserted, about homosexuality? Certainly 
Miss Wade's bizarre relationship with Tattycoram- their feeding on each 
other's resentments- is portrayed by Dickens as profoundly unhealthy, 
two souls "tearing each other to pieces." Yet she is given a chance to 
tell her own story, and hence deserves some sympathy. Why? This to me is 
more interesting than whether or not the first draft had it as a formal 
narrative or not. I would love to hear from Dickens lovers and scholars.