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The Ghost Story, 1840–1920A Cultural History$
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Andrew Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719074462

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719074462.001.0001

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Dickens’s spectres: sight, money, and reading the ghost story

Dickens’s spectres: sight, money, and reading the ghost story

(p.32) 2 Dickens’s spectres: sight, money, and reading the ghost story
The Ghost Story, 1840–1920

Andrew Smith

Manchester University Press

This chapter summarises Charles Dickens's view of the ghost story. It presents some close readings of A Christmas Carol, ‘The Signalman’ and ‘A December Vision’. In A Christmas Carol, Dickens uses ghosts to critique the economic system and to pardon capitalism. In ‘A December Vision’, Dickens tries to represent the ghost of the industrial economy as it spreads poverty throughout the country. Finally, it shows that Dickens's fascination with the allegorical mode of the ghost story and the ways such allegories can be read are addressed in ‘The Signalman’.

Keywords:   ghost story, Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, The Signalman, A December Vision, economic system, capitalism, industrial economy, allegorical mode

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