Dickens's Lifetime Reading: Review in Dickens Studies Annual 51 (2020), p. 163: "Litvack presents a comprehensive and well-organized account of what Dickens read and how so many of those readings affected his own views and writings. In addition to naming and explaining the importance of particular works, he lists many of the topics and types of literature read, which will aid future scholarship that delves into these topics in relation to Dickens's life and writings. Litvack notes both that Dickens's works "display evidence of substantial research" and that Dickens as editor of Household Words and All the Year Round was conversant with all of the nonfiction that he published."

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Abstract

Dickens’s reading knowledge was vast, and serves as a testament to how effectively he digested and recalled a range of material that could be used in his various forms of output, including fiction, journalism, letters, and speeches. His primary influences stemmed from childhood reading: nursery stories, fairy tales, and the Bible. To these he added more standardised reading acquired at school, including the classics, and from the age of eighteen, a systematic programme of reading, including the works of Shakespeare, that was consciously undertaken in order to make the transition to a professional writing career. Other major influences include the eighteenth-century poets, novelists, and essayists, the Romantic poets, and early nineteenth-century novelists and poets. He was intimately familiar with the literary trends of his own day in poetry and fiction, as well as in such diverse fields as history, geography, travel, science, and industry; such wide comprehension assisted not only his own imaginative output, but also his work as editor of Household Words and All the Year Round.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens
EditorsRobert L. Patten, John O. Jordan, Catherine Waters
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter2
Pages25-42
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780198743415
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Dickens
  • Reading
  • Library
  • Intertextuality
  • Literaty influences
  • Shakespeare
  • Bible
  • Fairy tales
  • Common Prayer
  • Influences
  • Nursery stories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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