Dickens and the Dream of Cinema

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Manchester University Press, Nov 8, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 206 pages
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Taking his cue from Walter Benjamin's concept of each epoch dreaming the epoch that is to follow, Grahame Smith argues that Dickens' novels can be regarded as proto-filmic in the detail of their language as well as their larger formal structures. This possibility arises from Dickens' creative engagement with the city as metropolis, as it emerges in the London of the 1830s, plus his immersion in the visual entertainments of his day, such as the panorama, as well as technological advances such as the railway which anticipates cinema in some of its major features. The book offers a new way of reading Dickens, through the perspective of a form which he knew nothing of, while simultaneously suggesting an account of his part in the manifold forces that led to the appearance of film towards the end of the 19th century.
 

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Contents

Exploratory
1
seeing and being seen
18
Explanations
45
London as labyrinth Paris as panorama
62
The magic carpet of technology
82
Dickens theatre and spectacle
102
The impurity of art
119
the case of Little Dorrit
137
Language and form
152
Charles Dickens and Orson Welles
176
Select bibliography
197
Index
203
Copyright

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Charles Dickens
Donald Hawes
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About the author (2003)

Grahame Smith is Professor Emeritus of English Studies at the University of Stirling.

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