Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
My thesis argues that Charles Dickens is a city-novelist who documents urban life and the urban capitalist psychology of mid-Victorian London. London (along with New York) was the first modern metropolis and the prototype for the modern city. Culturally, socially, but especially economically, mid-Victorian London flourished and profoundly shaped urban life. Dickens t s novels during the 1850s and 1860s analyze the new phenomena of urban life, financial capitalism, and the urban consciousness of the individual within it.
I have decided to focus specifically on Bleak House, Little Dorrit, and Great Expectations. I have excluded Hard Times for the simple reason that the novel is not set in London and is concerned with industrial capitalism. A Tale of Two Cities, although partly set in London, is also not discussed here because its historical setting obviously excludes the atmosphere of urban life in 1850s London. The remaining three novels written during this period, although set in the 1820s, abound with the contemporary atmosphere of mid-Victorian London. The thesis places the novels within the historical reality of London as an urban financial centre in order to accurately understand the historical context of Dickens's social vision. In doing so it shows that Dickens's novels express a great awareness of fundamental truths about urban life and human psychology; a study of which gives fresh impetus to the understanding of our own "urban" culture--now aptly called the global village.
Woudenberg, Maximiliaan Floris Pierre Van, "A STUDY OF THE EMERGING URBAN CAPITALIST PSYCHOLOGY OF MID-VICTORIAN LONDON IN THE NOVELS OF CHARLES DICKENS" (1996). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6192.
McMaster University Library