By Carol Hanbery MacKay
This can be a team of essays which discover how dramatic impulses underlie Dickens' perception of himself and his paintings - in addition to how they have been remodeled into the dynamic global of his fiction. The paintings additionally considers Dickens' dating with girls (actresses an his personal characters) and the background of Victorian and sleek theatre. Carol Hanbery MacKay is writer of "Soliloquy in Nineteenth-Century Fiction".
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Extra info for Dramatic Dickens
Where is the real Bailey? Where is the real Sairey, the real Wopsle, the real Micawber? Perhaps the question itself is misplaced. These are the questions, interestingly, that the narrator of David Copperfield asks. He has, as it happens, a devil of a time locating his own essence, his own real self behind the roles he plays. At the same time, he wants to formulate his own story with himself as hero. The difficulty with the 'himself as hero' formulation lurks not in the 'hero' part but in the 'self' part.
This union connects both with Joe and with all who suffer and are good: 'Remember reader he were that good in his hart'. Not all images of absorption are by any means so positive in Dickens. The loss of individuality, alienating as that individuality is, can also mean a loss of all defences. Atoms can then turn into the terrifying, undifferentiated mobs of Barnaby Rudge: It was but a glimpse, but it showed them the crowd, gathering and clustering round the house: some of the armed men pressing to the front to break down the doors and windows, some bringing brands from the nearest fire, some with lifted faces following their course upon the roof and pointing them out to their companions: all raging and roaring like the flames they lighted up.
They cannot be understood in the linear, developmen- Performance, Roles, and the Nature of the Self 21 tal terms appropriate to individuals. They are the 'we' of one another. Mrs Micawber' s vow never to desert Mr Micawber is a grand and happy redundancy. How could she? Without him, where would she be? More exactly, what would she be? The move towards alternate, boundaryless conceptions of being is played out throughout the Dickens canon. Even in that most radical of individualist forms, the Bildungsroman and its exemplar Oliver Twist, we can see Oliver growing towards a being that exists only in relation to that of the boys around Fagin, and to Fagin himself.