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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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Charles Dickens and New Zealand: A Long-Distance Relationship with a Future

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Max Hübner

Charles Dickens and New Zealand A Long-Distance Relationship with a Future

Historical Background

When Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand during an expedition in 1642, the first contact between Europe and the Pacific island was established. However, shortly afterwards, New Zealand passed into European oblivion, not least because Tasman’s report on a hostile encounter with Maori warriors who killed several of his crew members. About one hundred years later, the island was rediscovered by James Cook and thus, became part of an already global game of trade and politics. Also, Cook’s discovery established the foundation for a British settlement in New Zealand. Although the natives were involved in trade with British missionaries and whalers throughout the eighteenth century, the actual British settlement only started in the 1840s. Enticed by the expedition reports of Cook and his crew and encouraged by the efforts of the New Zealand Company, thousands of Britons left their homes to start a new life at the end of the world. They could rely on enough space to settle, after the British government took a considerable portion of the country with the Treaty of Waitangi. This contract between the Crown and a majority of the Maori clans, represented by their chiefs, was based on mistranslations of the contracts in the Maori language. As we know today, the chiefs must have been under the impression that the treaty would leave their independence untouched (Robinson, 81-85)...

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