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.
|Title of host publication||Reading Dickens differently|
|Editors||Leon Litvack, Nathalie Vanfasse|
|Number of pages||33|
|Publication status||Published - 08 Nov 2019|
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© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)