Dickens and the Grown-up Child

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The child who stops growing, infantile senility, the old-fashioned child, child-wives and child-mothers, the rejuvenated adult - Dickens's writings parade before readers a gallery of bizarre hybrids. This study focuses on the complicated and unresolved relationship between childhood and adulthood in Dickens's fictional and non-fictional work. In challenginig the familiar view that the source of such anomalies lies in Dickens's own childhood experiences, Malcolm Andrews explores the extent to which Dickens was heir to an older cultural debate about primitivism and progressivism - a debate which Dickens adapted to his own preoccupations with the tensions between childhood and maturity. In examining these issues, he concentrates on the fiction of Dickens's middle years, particularly David Copperfield and on some of the journalistic essays. The book combines original critical insight with a new examination of socio-political and educational theory in the 19th century. Malcolm Andrews is the author of Dickens on England and the English and The Search for the Picturesque .