Dickens’s burial in Westminster Abbey. the untold story

Leon Litvack*, Nathalie Vanfasse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


This essay adopts a microhistorical approach to reassess the circumstances surrounding Dickens’s death and burial. Using previously unseen documentary evidence, it alters the canonical details provided by John Forster, which have been the basis of almost every account of the author’s interment over the past 150 years. It demonstrates that the author’s previously unacknowledged relationship with the writer Frederick Locker, and with Locker’s brother-in-law Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, the Dean of Westminster (who buried Dickens), was paramount in determining the conditions of Dickens’s funeral, and his final resting-place. This biographical “turn” permits fuller elucidation of events in the period 9-13 June 1870, about which Forster in particular was silent. There emerges a strong argument that all the participants in Dickens’s funeral - particularly the family and intimate friends, and Dean Stanley - were anxious either to keep the circumstances surrounding the funeral private, or to manufacture them in such a way as to preserve Dickens’s public reputation, and subscribe to the national interest.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading Dickens differently
EditorsLeon Litvack, Nathalie Vanfasse
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9781119602262
ISBN (Print)9781119602224
Publication statusPublished - 08 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Dickens’s burial in Westminster Abbey. the untold story'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this