ABSTRACT

First published in 1984, this title examines the development of a special rhetoric in Dickens’ work, which, by using grotesque effects, challenged the complacency of his middle-class Victorian readers. The study begins by exploring definitions of the grotesque and moves on to look at three key aspects that particularly impacted on Dickens’ imagination: popular theatre (especially pantomime), caricature, and the tradition of the Gothic novel. Michael Hollington traces the development of Dickens’ application of the grotesque from his early work to his late novels, showing how its use becomes more subtle. Hollington’s title greatly enhances our appreciation of Dickens’ technique, showing the skill with which he used the grotesque to undermine stereotyped responses and encourage his readership to challenge their context.