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Dickens's Collaborative Genres

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Abstract:

Recent readings of Dickens's collaborative relationships tend to focus on the struggle for literary control between Dickens and his less famous colleagues. But when the question of genre is brought to bear on his collaborative writing, it becomes apparent that Dickens created new literary forms which permit for more complex authorial negotiations than scholars have acknowledged. Despite Dickens's dictatorial tendencies, the collaborative genres he developed over the course of his career often promote a model of authorship where power relationships are in flux, and this fluidity creates new opportunities for epistemological exploration and authorial self-definition. I explore two of Dickens's collaborative genres that appeared in Household Words and All the Year Round. The first is the annual Christmas number; the second is the “excursion article,” which revolved around holiday outings taken by Dickens and his staff. An investigation of these collaborative genres reveals that they refuse to conform neatly to hierarchical patterns of dominance and subordination, thus enriching our understanding of the many and varied kinds of creative partnerships that emerged between male writers during the Victorian period.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7756/dsa.041.009.215-236

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Founded in 1970, the centennial anniversary of Dickens's death, DSA has been published since 1980 by AMS Press in cooperation with the Ph.D. program in English of the City University of New York and in association with the Graduate Center, CUNY and Queens College, CUNY. Besides presenting articles exploring the wide range of Dickens''s interests and talents, DSA also includes essays on other mid- and late- nineteenth-century authors and on the history and aesthetics of the period's fiction. In addition, each volume contains a substantial review article examining a prior year's scholarship on Dickens, and DSA occasionally publishes surveys of work on other Victorian writers, as well as review essays considering specialized studies of subjects in Victorian fiction. The editors seek to offer essays of "the most diverse kinds," those employing innovative as well as traditional approaches.
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