By John Glavin

ISBN-10: 0511003706

ISBN-13: 9780511003707

ISBN-10: 0521633222

ISBN-13: 9780521633222

John Glavin deals either a performative examining of Dickens the novelist and an exploration of the opportunity of adaptive functionality of the novels themselves. via shut research of textual content and context Glavin uncovers a richly ambivalent, frequently by surprise adverse, courting among Dickens and the theater and theatricality of his personal time, and exhibits how Dickens' novels may be visible as a sort of counter functionality. but Glavin additionally explores the performative strength in Dickens' fiction, and describes new how you can level that fiction in emotionally robust, severely acute diversifications.

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Additional info for After Dickens: Reading, Adaptation and Performance

Sample text

Failing to mark that distinction between telling and saying is what causes the usually keen J. L. Austin to get theatre thoroughly wrong in his famous dismissal of stage-speech as parasitic. He sees the actors speaking to each other on the stage and knows that, in that narrow room, they make nothing happen. But he refuses to see that their speech is actually directed at an audience, and, in so far as they are skilled at what they do, those actors must of course be producing affect. Masters of perlocution, they are stirring, rousing, thrilling, exciting, irritating, angering, appeasing – the list goes on – the audience.

They save themselves, and even others, by the skill with which they make believe. And that mimetic skill is the antithesis of writing. It is not too much to say that Dickens hates writing. His letters make it clear that very shortly after he began his career as a novelist he began to find writing a virtually intolerable burden. And that burden increased beyond toleration as he grew older. I would even claim that his mature life took shape as a flight from writing, a flight, from which he was repeatedly recalled by the necessity to earn his and his increasingly expensive family’s, living.

The successful, in the sense of powerful, adaptation knows – since it is exchanging spaces – that it must in fact change the space, particularly the space of fiction. Theatre takes shape as fiction’s foe. Even with writers far less evasive than Dickens, it is the business of fiction to elude crystallization, to distend, to postpone, to submerge. ⁴ Indeed, as Bert O. States claims, ‘‘part of the liberty of the novel form’’ roots in its ability ‘‘to put perspectives on top of perspectives, to reach out in philosophical, biographical, societal, and most commonly, descriptive directions that lie behind the scene and the action’’ (States : ).

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After Dickens: Reading, Adaptation and Performance by John Glavin


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