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Extra resources for Charles Dickens: The Critical Heritage (The Collected Critical Heritage : 19th Century Novelists)

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The introductions to these, particularly Mr Dyson’s, contain useful assessments of recent critical trends, and the Ford and Lane anthology includes a notably good ‘Checklist of Dickens Criticism, 1840–1960’. Dr Q. D. Leavis’s influential book Fiction and the Reading Public (1932) contained some astringent references to Dickens and his readers. A fuller and more balanced account appeared in Amy Cruse’s The Victorians and their Books (1935), which contained an entertaining and wide-ranging chapter on Dickens.

People who never read any other novels, read Mr Dickens’s’ (No. 138), and many of the items printed below comment in more detail on the range of his readership and the reasons for this large and sustained popularity. ’35 Dickens’s popularity had not been confined to the half-educated, however much it might suit the Stephen family to think so, but by 1888, though the benighted ‘half-educated’ persisted in enjoying and admiring him, many of the intelligentsia had found other gods and were reacting against many elements of his art.

Pym (1883), 145. Peter Parley’s Penny Library (1841), quoted in Dickensian, xix (1923), 130. Letters of Edward Fitzgerald, ed. J. M. Cohen (1960), 232. Examiner, 28 October 1865, 681. See No. 135, and Jean Ruer, ‘Playdoyer pour la littérature à sensation’. Bulletin de la Faculté des Lettres de Strasbourg, Janvier 1969, 233–47; also Walter C. Phillips (in Bibliography). Quarterly Review, June 1839, lxiv, 89; Saturday Review, 14 January 1871, 50. Charles Lever, letter of 16 April 1857, Huntington Library Quarterly, I (1936), 164.

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