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Dickens and race$
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Dr. Laura Peters

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719064265

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719064265.001.0001

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Racial difference and ‘The Noble Savage’

Racial difference and ‘The Noble Savage’

Chapter:
(p.54) 3 Racial difference and ‘The Noble Savage’
Source:
Dickens and race
Author(s):

Peters Laura

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719064265.003.0004

Chapter three, ‘Racial Difference and ‘The Noble Savage’’ is devoted to one of Dickens’s most infamous pieces, ‘The Noble Savage’ seeking to contextualise this piece both within a range of discourses at the time and within the trajectory of Dickens’s own thinking. It also explores the continued vibrancy of the exotic and adventure narratives tracing the influence these exert on his racial thinking. This chapter will offer a sustained engagement with Dickens’s most infamous essay, ‘The Noble Savage’ through a consideration of the larger contexts which contributed to ‘The Noble Savage’, including Dickens’s trip to America in 1842, the exchange between Thomas Carlyle and John Stuart Mill in 1849, the plethora of Learned Societies, shows and scientific study during the 1840s and 50s which made race an object of enquiry and curiosity, the public curiosity fed by the expansion of empire and the attendant wars, specifically the Kaffir Wars, and his own expedition to the East End. The chapter will then read ‘The Noble Savage’ itself as a contribution to the debates about race.

Keywords:   Dickens, Race, The Noble Savage, Thomas Carlyle, John Stuart Mill, Race shows, Science, Commodity, Pitchlynn, Martin Chuzzlewit

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