Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Gothic Death 1740-1914A Literary History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Andrew Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088414

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088414.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use (for details see www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 21 September 2018

Gothic death and Dickens: executions, graves and dreams

Gothic death and Dickens: executions, graves and dreams

Chapter:
(p.106) 4 Gothic death and Dickens: executions, graves and dreams
Source:
Gothic Death 1740-1914
Author(s):

Andrew Smith

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719088414.003.0005

This chapter begins with a discussion of Dickens’s views on capital punishment which were informed by his concern that popular media coverage of executions created a death wish in the most susceptible, who would relish the lead role provided by the drama of the scaffold. Dickens was also concerned that media interest in capital offences granted the condemned an undeserved post-mortem existence. Dickens’s solution to illegitimate criminal resurrections was set out in letters sent to The Times in 1849 in which he advocated that executions should no longer be held in public, and argued that the media should not be permitted to publish stories about the condemned. The emotional disruption caused by the execution can be compared with how Dickens writes about graves as the site where the family reconvenes (is resurrected) after death, which introduces a cultural narrative about the significance of burial practices during the period. These images of death constitute a pattern in Dickens, which also includes references to writing, reading, and dreaming. These seemingly disparate contexts coalesce in The Mystery of Edwin Drood which links, dreams, death and reading in a complex way that invites reconsideration for why a self-incriminating conscience emerges in Dickens’s later writings.

Keywords:   Dickens, executions, graveyards, Edwin Drood

Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.