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How we can use writing by Charles Dickens to enhance our understanding of selected aspects of the historical geography of Victorian London - Essay Example

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Charles Dickens has been considered as the greatest novelist from the Victorian era producing some of the most recognisable characters and descriptions in English literature. Another measure of Dickens’s popularity is that his work has not gone out of print even today…
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How we can use writing by Charles Dickens to enhance our understanding of selected aspects of the historical geography of Victorian London
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Extract of sample "How we can use writing by Charles Dickens to enhance our understanding of selected aspects of the historical geography of Victorian London"

Download file to see previous pages Most of Dickens’s work is set in or around London, though there are other works that have been construed in settings that are more industrial. Reflections from Dickens’s work can be utilised in order to paint a geographical picture of London from the Victorian era. This technique of geographical survey has been on the rise and has produced unique observations that would have been otherwise secluded from public view. This paper will attempt to analyse the various views and descriptions presented by Dickens’s through his works as per the residential segregation in the city of London. The various facets of urban and social life expressed in the divisions of residential neighbourhoods will allow the creation of a reasonable picture as per Victorian London’s geography. This paper will emphasize on a number of works by Dickens’s including Oliver Twist (1838), Dombey and Son (1846 – 48) Bleak House (1852 / 53), Little Dorrit (1855 / 56) and Great Expectations (1860 / 61) but not Hard Times (1854) because the latter is based on an industrial setting that resembled Liverpool or Manchester more closely than it resembled London. Furthermore, the first three novels provide a continuous picture of London’s public geography under evolution. ...
The rapid pace of industrialisation bolstered the economy on one hand and left millions in misery on the other hand. This image of misery has been a hallmark of Victorian literature and the ensuing geographical inferences gathered from it. Generally when Victorian literature or geography is thought about, it is presumed that industrial establishments with narrow crooked streets, two to three storied cramped living quarters, a lack of sanitation and open public places is being talked about. This generalisation is imposed on all Victorian metropolises from the era whether one talks about London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow or other cities. However, this image of London is far from reality from the era as per the works of Dickens’s as well as according to geographical descriptions from the era (Banks, 1967) (Dyos & Wolff, 1973). In contrast to the images of long factory chimneys, London was not an industrial establishment at all. Instead, London was based on finance capitalism rather than industrial capitalism. The city and its geographical life were dominated by the “world of lawyers, bankers, brokers, merchants, clerks and governmental institutions” (Woudenberg, 1996). The writings of Dickens’s also reflect this reality as most of his work concerning London is overly consumed with descriptions of locales that do not exhibit the typical industrial metropolis settings. Most of Dickens’s work being studied for this paper provides active descriptions of locales such as (Collins, 1987): the City and Westminster; the Inns of Court area; the poorer regions towards the East such as Limehouse and Whitechapel; the Southern areas such as Lambeth, Southwark, Bermondery, Deptford; the shabbier living quarters of the clerks based in Somers and Camden Towns, Islington ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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