The literature on Dickens is vast: for the postgraduate student there are bibliographies such as R. C. Churchill’s A Bibliography of Dickensian Criticism 1836–1975 (1975), which can be supplemented from updates in the periodical Dickens Quarterly. Our sole aim here is to summarise a few critical views, chosen simply because they differ from each other, in order to stimulate debate. We begin with Dickens’s contemporaries. Then we report some critics of Dickens from between then and now. Finally, we summarise the views of four recent critics. This chapter is intended to encourage you to develop your own ideas with confidence, and to read the critics critically.
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