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date: 24 January 2022

p. 353. Character and plotlocked

p. 353. Character and plotlocked

  • Jenny Hartley


Characters are what Charles Dickens is famous for. They crowd and flock through his novels, roughly 2,000 named characters, and multitudes more unnamed. The original illustrations by George Cruikshank and Hablot K. Browne, crammed with people, convey the sense of plenitude. ‘Character and plot’ describes the creation of some of Dickens’s characters, many of whom have achieved the fictional gold standard of life beyond the page, populating the empire of the collective imaginary. On the other hand, Dickens’s characterization has been targeted for criticism, as have his plots. His characters are condemned as caricatures with no inner life, his plots as improbable and impossible to follow.

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