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The Phiz Illustrations IN PRINT

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Publication 102 By mhearn on Sunday, August 26, 2001 at 20:58   
Location: Unavailable   Registered: Sunday, August 26, 2001  Posts: 4    Search for other posts by mhearn Search   Quote
Yesterday I completed DC for the sixth time. Still holds up, and I always get something fresh out of it. But as meticulous as Dickens is there are several details that have always eluded me. For starters, there are no dates given in the book, so we have no idea of when David was born, nor from what age he is telling the story. When he records the last key incident in the book, Dan Pegotty's visit, we learn ten years have passed since the main action of the story, by which time he has married Agnes and borne several children. I would guess we leave David at around age 35, but is it 35 in Dickens' 1850 when the novel appeared (which would have David born around 1815) or an earlier era?

As to some characters, while his understated delineation in the case of Mr. Wickfield and Martha (alcoholism and prostitution are never mentioned) is superb, we are never made clear about what it is Dora acutally dies of (one could fill in the blanks from everything from TB to a miscarriage) and one questions the possibility of homosexuality on the part of Mr. Creakle and repressed incest on that of the Murdstones. (And Jane Murdstone is clearly a repressed lesbian. Dora's companion, indeed!) And the Mrs.Steerforth Rosa Dardle relationship can be clearly seen for what it is--codepedency. Which leaves me to conclude that while detractors may denounce DC as sentimental romanticism (I do NOT agree!) there is so much in it demonstrating Dickens' ability to gaze into the darkness of the human soul. The novel could easily have been entitled the phrase that resounds throughout--The Undisciplined Heart--since the story is essentially about David's search and finding of such.

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The Phiz Illustrations IN PRINT

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