This volume of essays examines Dickens's complex representations of sexuality and gender as well as his use of gender ideologies and sexual and gender differences over the course of his literary career, from his first sketches and early novels to his late works of fiction. The essays approach gender issues in Dickens's writing by focusing on a number of topics: his treatment of gender ideals and transgressions; the intersections and displacements among gender, class and race; the ties between gender and the body, and among gender, voice and language; his depiction of the homosocial and the homoerotic; and the relation between gender and the law.
The essays provide an introduction to the most recent approaches to Dickens's fiction in addition to those now considered classic, draw on queer theory and also feature a variety of methodologies, ranging across feminist, historicist and psychoanalytic methods of interpretation. The collection represents the best of previously published research by Dickens's scholars and illuminates for students and scholars alike the meaning of gender in such novels as The Pickwick Papers, Dombey and Son, and Our Mutual Friend.
Contents: Introduction; Part I Ideals and Transgressions: A sisterhood of rage and beauty: Dickens' Rosa Dartle, Miss Wade and Madame Defarge, Barbara Black; Dombey and Son: the daughter's nothing, Hilary M. Schor; The ideal girl in industrial England, Catherine Robson; Flogging and fascination: Dickens and the fragile will, Natalie Rose. Part II Intersectionalities: The man-of-letters hero: David Copperfield and the professional writer, Mary Poovey; The cannibal, the nurse and the cook in Dickens's The Frozen Deep, Lillian Nayder; 'All the girls say serve him right': the multiple anxieties of Edwin Drood, Suvendrini Perera; Sketches by Boz: the middle-class city and the quarantine of urban suffering, Deborah Epstein Nord; A Tale of Two Cities, Catherine Waters; The erotics of Barnaby Rudge, Natalie McKnight. Part III Mind, Body, Language, Voice: Bodies of capital: Great Expectations and the climacteric economy, Susan Walsh; Dickens's scar: Rosa Dartle and David Copperfield, Mary Ann O'Farrell; Broken mirror, broken words: Bleak House, Carolyn Dever; Dickens and women's stories: 1845-1848 (part one), Margaret Flanders Darby; Undertexts and intertexts: the women of Urania Cottage, secrets and Little Dorrit Jenny Hartley. Part IV Queer Dickens: Homophobia, misogyny and capital: the example of Our Mutual Friend, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick; 'Your love-sick Pickwick': the erotics of service, Brian W. McCuskey; The female accessory in Great Expectations, Sharon Marcus; Serial bachelorhood and counter-marital plotting, Holly Furneaux. Part V Gender and the Law: Love after death: the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, Karen Chase and Michael Levenson; Making a spectacle of yourself, or, marriage as melodrama in Dombey and Son, Kelly Hager; Circulation and stasis: feminine property in the novels of Charles Dickens, Deborah Wynne; Name index.