By John Glavin
John Glavin bargains either a performative analyzing of Dickens the novelist and an exploration of the possibility of adaptive functionality of the novels themselves. via shut learn of textual content and context Glavin uncovers a richly ambivalent, usually all at once adversarial, dating among Dickens and the theater and theatricality of his personal time, and exhibits how Dickens' novels will be noticeable as a sort of counter functionality. but Glavin additionally explores the performative power in Dickens' fiction, and describes new how one can degree that fiction in emotionally robust, seriously acute variations.
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Extra resources for After Dickens: Reading, Adaptation and Performance
We ﬁnd agamy coursing metaphysically through most of Wordsworth – how happy to be lonely as a cloud – and in the best of Shelley and Keats – Oh to be a wind, ah to be an urn, how simply lovely to be a bird. Unsurprisingly, it is everything to professionally chaste Hopkins: each man does the thing he is. Wuthering Heights is its charter. You ﬁnd agamy nowhere determinative in Charlotte Bronte¨ or George Eliot, who can’t Set up or won’t imagine unmediated happiness. But it’s all over Conan Doyle and Carroll and Kipling.
This is because most of what we mean by thinking turns out to be some form of slotting, taking a category as more signiﬁcant than the individual item being organized within the slot. It’s slotting that makes it possible not only to organize, but to explain and to predict human behavior. Dickens doesn’t think – actually I think that he can’t think – precisely because he resists with all the force of unmitigated childish narcissism any and every claim of the slot on the self. It’s not simply that in life and in ﬁction Dickens separates from the group at every opportunity – the Inimitable Boz – but that he can’t underwrite any sort of category as normative or determinative or even helpful.
But self-consciously modern theatre set out to make things not only new but diﬀerent, to make something happen, in the audience even more than on the stage. And that is where Brecht and Grotowski part company. Both passionate advocates of transformation, they nevertheless mean by transformation radically diﬀerent sorts of change. Dickens, adaptation and Grotowski Brecht’s theatre is fundamentally indicative, a theatre, as he so often said, of quotation. Its transformations are public, political, ideologic.
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