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Dickens’s Dialogue: Margins of Conversation

By George Goodin


LC 2013018092
ISBN-10: 0-404-64470-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-404-64470-3
Clothbound
$87.50

AMS Studies in the Nineteenth Century, No. 40


Dickens’s Dialogue: Margins of Conversation explores the rhetoric of Dickens’s characters and its place in his work. Drawing on Victorian conversation manuals and more recent philosophical, sociological, and linguistic insights into the nature of conversations, Goodin describes three major character types whose rhetorical strategies exemplify the conflicting forces of cooperation and violation that shape many conversations.

Bullies such as Eugene Wrayburn (Our Mutual Friend) marshal interruption, interrogation, inattention, silence, and other devices to compete for conversational power. Con artists such as Sam Weller (The Pickwick Papers) seek intimacy or reduced social distance through what they say, whether flattering or self-deprecating, as well as what they do, like whispering or shaking hands. And muddlers such as Cousin Feenix (Dombey and Son) often consciously avoid the perils of clarity by introducing various forms of incoherence—not least by inserting parentheses within parentheses.

These strategies also work together in individual novels to further Dickens’s own purposes, as an extended treatment of Dombey and Son shows in Goodin’s concluding chapter.


Contents
1. Conversation and Its Margins
2. Competitive Conversation
3. Confidence, Confidings, and Conning
4. The Uses and Usages of Muddle
5. Putting Things Together
Works Cited
Index

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Goodin, George.
Dickens’s dialogue : margins of conversation / By George Goodin.
     pages cm. — (AMS studies in the nineteenth century, ISSN 0196-657X ; No. 40)
     Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary: “Explores the rhetoric of Dickens’s characters and its place in his work. Drawing on Victorian conversation manuals and more recent philosophical, sociological, and linguistic insights into the nature of conversations, Goodin describes three major character types whose rhetorical strategies exemplify the conflicting forces of cooperation and violation that shape many conversations” — Provided by publisher.
     ISBN 978-0-404-64471-0 (cloth : alk. paper)
     1. Dickens, Charles, 1812–1870—Criticism and interpretation.
     2. Dialogue in literature.
     3. Conversation in literature.
     4. Social interaction in literature.
     5. Characters and characteristics in literature.
     I.  Title.
PR4588.G66 2013
823’.8—dc23                                                       2013018092