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Dickensian Laughter: Essays on Dickens and Humour

Jese Leos
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Published in Malcolm Andrews
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The works of Charles Dickens are renowned for their vivid characters, intricate plots, and social commentary. However, one aspect that often goes overlooked is Dickens' keen sense of humor. In his novels, short stories, and essays, Dickens masterfully weaves humor into his storytelling, providing readers with moments of laughter amidst the sometimes gloomy Victorian settings.

A Group Of People Laughing In A Victorian Style Setting Dickensian Laughter: Essays On Dickens And Humour

Exploring Dickens' Humor

Dickens' humor is multifaceted and appears in various forms. From witty dialogues and clever wordplay to comical situations and exaggerated characters, Dickens sprinkles humor throughout his works. Many of his novels, such as "The Pickwick Papers," "David Copperfield," and "Great Expectations," are brimming with comedic moments that offer readers a welcome break from the seriousness of the themes explored.

One of the fascinating aspects of Dickensian humor is its ability to coexist with social criticism. Through his humorous writing, Dickens skillfully uses satire to highlight societal injustices and bring attention to the plight of the less fortunate. His characters often provide a source of laughter while simultaneously challenging the reader to reflect on deeper issues.

Dickensian Laughter: Essays on Dickens and Humour
Dickensian Laughter: Essays on Dickens and Humour
by Malcolm Andrews(Illustrated Edition, Kindle Edition)

5 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 2126 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 207 pages
Lending : Enabled

The Significance of Laughter in Dickens' Works

Laughter, in the context of Dickens' writings, serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it provides relief and respite from the bleak reality depicted in many of his novels. Dickens uses humor as a tool to alleviate the reader's emotional burden and create a connection between the fictional world and the reader.

Secondly, laughter acts as a means of bonding characters and readers alike. Dickens' humorous scenes often involve group interactions, where laughter creates a sense of camaraderie among the characters. Through shared laughter, characters forge relationships and find solace in each other's company.

Unraveling the Techniques of Dickensian Humor

As readers, we may find ourselves wondering how Dickens managed to infuse his works with such comedic brilliance. Essays exploring Dickensian laughter delve into the various techniques employed by the author.

  • Character Development: Dickens' mastery lies in creating memorable characters who possess wit and eccentricity. Through their unique personalities, they become conduits for humor, driving the narrative forward with laughter.
  • Dialogue: Dickens' dialogues are sharp, witty, and oftentimes laden with sarcasm. His characters engage in banter, showcasing their humorous sides and adding depth to the narrative.
  • Situational Comedy: Dickens expertly crafts situational humor by placing his characters in absurd or humorous situations. Their reactions and interactions contribute to the comedic effect, keeping readers engaged and entertained.
  • Satire and Parody: Dickens employs satire and parody as powerful tools to critique societal norms and conventions. By exaggerating certain aspects of Victorian society, he invites laughter while simultaneously challenging prevailing notions.

Celebrating the Legacy of Dickens' Humor

The enduring appeal of Dickens' humor lies in its timeless quality. Despite being written in the 19th century, his comedic style transcends time and continues to resonate with readers today.

Dickensian laughter is not just a mere form of entertainment, but a way to explore the complexities of human nature and society. It enables readers to appreciate the lighter side of life while contemplating the deeper themes presented in his works.

Essays on Dickens and humor serve as a tribute to Charles Dickens' unrivaled ability to blend laughter with social commentary. By dissecting the techniques utilized by Dickens, scholars can gain a deeper understanding of his unique brand of humor and its impact on the literary world.

Dickens' works continue to captivate readers worldwide, and his use of humor remains a significant aspect of his literary legacy. Through his witty dialogues, unforgettable characters, and clever storytelling, Dickens provides us with a rich tapestry of laughter amidst the depth of his narratives.

So the next time you find yourself immersed in a Dickensian masterpiece, remember to appreciate the laughter as much as the drama, for in the world of Dickens, humor and humanity go hand in hand.

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Dickensian Laughter: Essays on Dickens and Humour
Dickensian Laughter: Essays on Dickens and Humour
by Malcolm Andrews(Illustrated Edition, Kindle Edition)

5 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 2126 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 207 pages
Lending : Enabled

How does Dickens make his readers laugh? What is the distinctive character of Dickensian humour? These are the questions explored in this book on a topic that has been strangely neglected in critical studies over the last half century. Dickens's friend and biographer John Forster declared that: 'His leading quality was Humour.' At the end of Dickens's career he was acclaimed as 'the greatest English Humourist since Shakespeare's time.' In 1971 the critic Philip
Collins surveyed recent decades of Dickens criticism and asked 'from how many discussions of Dickens in the learned journals would one ever guess that (as Dickens himself thought) humour was his leading quality, his highest faculty?' Forty years later, that rhetorical question has lost none of its force.
Why? Perhaps Dickens's genius as a humourist is simply taken for granted, and critics prefer to turn to his other achievements; or perhaps humour is too hard to analyse without spoiling the fun? Whatever the reason, there has been very little by way of sustained critical investigation into what for most people has constituted Dickens's special claim to greatness.
This book is framed as a series of essays examining and reflecting on Dickens's techniques for making us laugh. How is it that some written incident, or speech, or narrative 'aside' can fire off the page into the reader's conciousness and jolt him or her into a smile, a giggle, or a hearty laugh? That is the core question here. His first novel, Pickwick Papers, was acclaimed at the time as having 'opened a fresh vein of humour' in English literature: what was the social nature of the
humour that established this trademark 'Dickensian' method of making people laugh? And how many kinds of laughter are there in Dickens? What made Dickens himself laugh? Victorian and contemporary theories of laughter can provide useful insights into these processes - incongruity theory or the 'relief' theory
of laughter, laughter's contagiousness (laughter as a 'social glue'),the art of comic timing, the neuroscience of laughter. These and other ideas are brought into play in this short book, which considers not only Dickens's novels but also his letters and journalism. And to that end there are copious quotations. The aim of the book is to make readers laugh and also to prompt them to reflect their laughter. It should have an interest not only for Dickensians but for anyone curious about the
nature of laughter and how it is triggered.

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