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Dickens on the Move

Travels and Transformations

Edited By Stefan Welz and Elmar Schenkel

From today’s perspective, Charles Dickens seems to continue a British tradition in which dynamism and movement are central. This serves as a starting point for a bicentenary conference held by the English Department of Leipzig University in October 2012. The contributions united in this volume cover the three categories of geography, adaptation and reception of Dickens’ works. Whether in a physical, imaginary or virtual sense, notions of space, time and change are fundamental to all of these fields. They inform both Dickens’ narrative and his biography, in which acts of movement, exchange and transformation are perpetually performed. Articles discuss Dickens’ travels in London and abroad, but also Chesterton’s Dickens or his reception in Australia and New Zealand.
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Back to the Future: The Time Traveller’s Traumatic Jetlag in A Christmas Carol


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Franziska E. Kohlt

Back to the Future: The Time Traveller's Traumatic Jetlag in A Christmas Carol

And it is only when "in fairy fiction drest" that Romance gives admission to "truths severe." Edward Bulwer-Lytton, A Strange Story

In his introduction to his Annotated Christmas Carol, Michael Hearn calls the first of Dickens's Christmas books “the most popular work of England's most popular author” (Hearn in Dickens 2004, xiii). While the claim is disputable, the novella's enduring popularity is out of question, and so is its versatility. Catering Victorian novelistic preferences of morality, class and society, the tale gains its claim to timelessness and universality from addressing fundamental questions of good and bad, right and wrong and the meaning of life itself. While Dickens made a significant contribution to the popularisation of Christmas celebrations in the Victorian age with his Christmas tales, it was particularly through his use of the fantastic and supernatural in these stories that he “forged the cultural association of ghosts and Christmas” (Henson, 44). Scrooge's spectral visitors further relate A Christmas Carol to the Victorian scientific discourse on other worlds and dimensions, theories of vision and cognition, and, facilitate Scrooge's self-reflective journey through time. This places the Victorian realist protagonist Scrooge alongside other such Victorian fantastic travellers to other times and dimensions - such as in Wells' Time Machine; Abbott's Flatland or Carroll's Alice novels - and within the literary tradition of cathartic dream-voyages, so that the narrative...

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