Devulgarizing Dickens: Andrew Lang, Homer and the Rise of Psycho-Folklore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Andrew Lang utilized his status as an anthropologist and Homeric scholar to question Charles Dickens’s associations with “vulgarity”. This approach both legitimized the study of popular literature and simultaneously placed it within a folk past. Lang proclaimed himself a “psycho-folklorist”, and his fin-de-siècle writings on Dickens drew on anthropology, folklore, psychology and psychical research. This article examines how Lang raised questions about creativity and cultural value that remained active in twentieth-century literary criticism. It argues that psycho-folklore lived on in works by Arthur Machen and G. K. Chesterton.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted - 21 Aug 2019


  • Homer, Dickens, Lang, anthropology folklore, psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Anthropology
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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