Released on 01 MAR 2012
Charles Dickens's Networks
An innovative analysis of Dickens's novels and their famed crisscrossing plots unveils a new chapter in the history of travel literature...
Networks is an original approach to literary history combining formal and historical analysis to read nineteenth-century literature from the perspective of mobility networks. It theorizes how passenger networks work and how narrative forms a part of imagining public networks. And it enters into the discussion of transnationalism and globalism to make a case for attending to passenger networks in shaping imagined communities.
The same week in February 1836 that Charles Dickens was hired to write his first novel, The Pickwick Papers , the first railway line in London opened. Charles Dickens's Networks explores the rise of the global, high-speed passenger transport network in the nineteenth century and the indelible impact it made on Dickens's work. The advent first of stage coaches, then of railways and transoceanic steam ships, made unprecedented round-trip journeys across once seemingly far distances seem ordinary and systematic. Time itself was changed. The Victorians overran the separate, local times kept in each town, establishing instead the synchronized, 'standard' time, which now ticks on our clocks.
Jonathan Grossman examines the history of public transport's systematic networking of people and how this revolutionized perceptions of time, space, and community, and how the art form of the novel played a special role in synthesizing and understanding it all. By focusing on a trio of road novels by Charles Dickens, he looks first at a key historical moment in the networked community's coming together, then at a subsequent recognition of its tragic limits, and, finally, at the construction of a revised view that expressed the precarious, limited omniscient perspective by which passengers came to imagine their journeying in the network.
9780199644193 | £25 | 01 March 2012
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