Spectral Dickens: The Uncanny Forms of Novelistic Characterization (Hardcover)
Drawing on the recent ontological turn in critical theory, Spectral Dickens explores an aspect of literary character that is neither real nor fictional, but spectral. This work thus provides an in-depth study of the inimitable characters populating Dickens' illustrated novels using three hauntological concepts: the Freudian uncanny, Derridean spectrality, and the Lacanian real. Thus, while the current discourse on character studies, which revolves around values like realism, depth, and lifelikeness, tends to see characters as mimetic of persons, this book invents new critical concepts to account for non-mimetic forms of characterization. These spectral forms bring to light the important influence of developments in nineteenth-century visual culture, such as the lithography and caricature of Daumier and J.J. Grandville. The spectrality of novelistic characters developed here paves the way for a new understanding of fictional characters in general.
Alexander Bove is Professor of English at Pacific University