The Introduction highlights Dickens’s 1853 ‘The Noble Savage’ as not only his most notorious writing on racial difference but as part of a continuum of thinking about race that intertwines the developing racial science and the exotic childhood stories which continued to hold Dickens in thrall throughout his life. The Introduction offers ‘Lying Awake’, a piece which recalls Dickens’s childhood fascination with Benjamin Franklin’s theory of the duality of the brain, as a mini case study for Dickens’s own duality with regards to racial thinking. The Introduction explores definitions of race in circulation at the time to highlight its affinity to notions of family, kin and nation as well as to indicate its instability as a term.
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