Dickens and Resilience (The Charles Dickens Society) (Panel)


Sean Grass (Rochester Institute of Technology)

Following the theme of the conference, this panel organized by the Charles Dickens Society seeks papers exploring the theme of resilience as it appears in Dickens's life and works: in, for instance, his treatment of characters who must respond to and overcome traumatic events; in his innumerable explorations of physical difference and disability; in his portrayals of mid-century London and the ways in which both the city and its denizens must persist through the mud, fog, and other detritus of the modern capitalist and industrialist age; in his own self-invention as an affluent middle-class man after childhood misery and temporary poverty; and in his reinvention of himself as a public performer, magazine proprietor, estranged husband, and tender lover after the tumult of his separation from his wife. This broad interpretation of resilience means that papers might approach Dickens in a variety of ways, from disability studies to environmental studies to historical and psychological studies even to studies of narrative form since, as Jill Matus has observed, trauma's recurrences and hauntings indicate its status as a chronological as well as a psychological problem. The Inimitable, as Dickens called himself, showed a resilience of spirit and imagination across more than three decades as a novelist, journalist, and editor. The panel aims to trace this resilience across the breadth of his life and works.
This panel (sponsored by the Charles Dickens Society) seeks papers exploring the theme of resilience (interpreted broadly) as it appears in Dickens's life and works.