Saturday, June 11, 2022

Pg. 99: Carolyn Vellenga Berman's "Dickens and Democracy in the Age of Paper"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Dickens and Democracy in the Age of Paper: Representing the People by Carolyn Vellenga Berman.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book examines Charles Dickens's fiction alongside publications emanating from Parliament. It argues that Dickens and Parliament were engaged in competitive efforts to represent the People at a crucial moment in the history of representative democracy--when the British government was under enormous political pressure to expand the franchise beyond a narrow band of male landowners. Contending that fiction and the literature of Parliament interacted at a host of levels--jostling one another in the same bookshops--it reads Dickens's novels in tandem with blue books, the practice texts of shorthand manuals, and Dickens's journalism. It shows how his fiction mocks parliamentary form (as in Pickwick Papers), canvasses the history of parliamentary representation (as in Bleak House), and depicts the relation of the People to the state as well as commerce (as in Little Dorrit). It thus rethinks the history of the Victorian novel by examining its rivalry with Parliament in the expanding world of print publication.
Learn more about Dickens and Democracy in the Age of Paper at the Oxford University Press website and follow Carolyn Vellenga Berman on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: Dickens and Democracy in the Age of Paper.

--Marshal Zeringue