Lecture 5 of our Open Lecture Series - Prof Carolyn Oulton

Dickens and the Dover Road: learning what you didn’t need to know.

Prof Carolyn Oulton  | Open Lecture Series 2021  |  Lecture 5 - June 08 2021

When one of Dickens’s more eccentric characters in Little Dorrit proclaims for no obvious reason, ‘There’s mile-stones on the Dover road!’, the incongruity of the statement encourages us to disregard it. But the road between London and Kent features repeatedly in Dickens’s work. It is particularly significant for two adolescent characters, David Copperfield and Pip Pirrip, who know more than they feel they should about the adult world. In the nineteenth century, purity was routinely aligned with the feminine ideal. So why does Dickens associate these feelings of guilt with male characters – and what are they trying to tell us?

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Last edited: 15/06/2021 08:54:00