"Christmas stories" by Charles Dickens

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for his plays, resourceful. Pickwick began as high-spirited farce and contained many conventional comic butts and traditional jokes like other early works, it was manifestly indebted to the contemporary theatre, the 18th century English novelists, and a few foreign classics, notably Don Quixote. But, besides giving new life to old stereotypes, Pickwick displayed, if sometimes in embryo, many of the features that were to be blended in varying proportions throughout his fiction attacks, satirical or denunciatory, on social evils and inadequate institutions topical references an encyclopedic knowledge of London always his predominant fictional locale pathos a vein of the macabre a delight in the demotic joys of Christmas a pervasive spirit of benevolence and geniality exhaustible powers of character creation a wonderful speech for characteristic speech, often imaginatively heightened a strong narrative impulse and a prose style that, if here over dependent on a few comic mannerisms, was highly individual and inventive.

Rapidly improvised and written only weeks or days ahead of its serial publication Pickwick contains weak and jejune passages and is an unsatisfactory whole - partly because Dickens was rapidly developing his craft as a novelist while writing and publishing it. What is remarkable is that a first novel, written in such circumstances, not only established him overnight and created a new tradition of popular literature but also survived, despite its crudities, as one of the best known novels in the world. John E.

Butt and Kathleen Tillotson - Dickens at Work, New York, 1957, reprinted 1982. pp. 203-212 His self-assurance and artistic ambitiousness had appeared in Oliver Twist, where he rejected the temptation to repeat the successful .

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