Charles Dickens and 'Boz'

Charles Dickens and 'Boz' : The Birth of the Industrial-Age Author

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Dickens' rise to fame and his world-wide popularity were by no means inevitable. He started out with no clear career in mind, drifting in and out of the theatre, journalism and editing before finding unexpected success as a creative writer. Taking account of everything known about Dickens' apprentice years, Robert L. Patten narrates the fierce struggle Dickens then had to create an alter ego, Boz, and later to contain and extinguish him. His revision of Dickens' biography in the context of early Victorian social and political history and print culture opens up a more unstable, yet more fascinating, portrait of Dickens. The book tells the story of how Dickens created an authorial persona that highlighted certain attributes and concealed others about his life, talent and publications. This complicated narrative of struggle, determination, dead ends and new beginnings is as gripping as one of Dickens' own novels.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 8 b/w illus.
  • 1139419064
  • 9781139419062

Table of contents

Prologue; 1. Christening Boz (1812-1834): The Journalism Sketches; 2. Characterizing Boz (1834-1837): Sketches by Boz; 3. Writing Boz (1836-1837): The Pickwick Papers; 4. Hiring Boz (1837-1839): Bentley's Miscellany and Oliver Twist; 5. Paying Boz (1838-1839): Nicholas Nickleby; 6. Rewriting Boz (1839-1841): Master Humphrey's Clock and The Old Curiosity Shop; 7. Unwriting Boz (1841): Master Humphrey's Clock and Barnaby Rudge; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'[A] fascinating, detailed study of the complex and revealing relationship between Dickens and Boz, his nom-de-plume - or more accurately, his alter ego - through the formative years of his career.' Morning Star 'Dense and thoughtful.' Literary Review 'Patten evinces a fascination for his subject matter that carries the reader through this extraordinarily intricate study.' Times Literary Supplement 'Patten's long labours in the archives of Dickens's publishing history bring a valuable new reading of Dickens's earliest work into the light.' Simon J. James, Modern Language Review '... a monumental study of a decidedly un-monumental figure, an at times moment-by-moment account of a writer living by his wits, improvising and inventing not just fiction but a new way of being an author ... Patten makes an impressively coherent case out of a story full of loose ends, changed minds and abandoned plans, as readers, publishers and critics sought to chain down the protean Boz.' Dickens Quarterly
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