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Pastoral in the Work of Charles Dickens

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Derek Johnson

The mystifications of pastoral which long blinded Dickens to contemporary political realities were compounded by his enthusiasm for the Victorian Nature cult inspired by Wordsworth. Growing awareness of the misery prevalent in rural England drastically radicalised him but also exacerbated his weakness for the neurotic versions of pastoral related to child-cult. The peculiarly Victorian male fantasies of the child-wife and 'Angel on the Hearth', however, offered no final security from the life-long dread of the working man's potential danger to social stability responsible for the reactionary tendencies of his later years.
Contents: Romantic Nature in Dickens's Novels - 'Spots of Time': Nature and Imagination in Dickens and Wordsworth - Some Versions of Pastoral: Pastoral theory from William Empson to Raymond Williams - Early Dickensian Pastoral: 'Sunday Under Three Heads' and Pickwick - Chimes as anti-pastoral etc.