By John Glavin
John Glavin bargains either a performative interpreting of Dickens the novelist and an exploration of the opportunity of adaptive functionality of the novels themselves. via shut research of textual content and context Glavin uncovers a richly ambivalent, usually suddenly opposed, dating among Dickens and the theater and theatricality of his personal time, and indicates how Dickens' novels may be visible as a sort of counter functionality. but Glavin additionally explores the performative power in Dickens' fiction, and describes new how one can level that fiction in emotionally robust, seriously acute variations.
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Extra resources for After Dickens: Reading, Adaptation and Performance
We can’t pause to ponder. We can’t clarify or refer. And so even in the most experimental and avant- garde sorts of play we require a clarity and intensity of focus on action, so that we can begin the process of interpretation with some degree of assurance that at least we know what is happening even if we do not yet, or never will know, what it means. And it’s only that sort of clarity which will provide the foundation for a strong audience response. It is hard to care in any way about that which we ﬁnd merely baﬄing.
Go back and try to draw it; you ﬁnd the street, the building, the room spontaneously combusts. Its lines won’t come together or hang true. Instead, language delightedly, delightfully, dissolves identity, solidity, value in just about every thing and person and place the ambient culture expects to value, name, and prize. In Dickens, then, what you see is what you, inevitably, don’t get, can’t get because it’s just some version of mirage. And if you’re naive enough to think you’ve got something, you are, just as inevitably, a dupe.
That certainly seems to be how we are asked to read the crucial episode of Dr. Manette’s memoirs in A Tale of Two Cities. Imprisoned in the Bastille, Manette has written down and hidden away the true story of his persecution at the hands of the Evremondes. Much later in the novel, he succeeds before the tribunal of the Terror when he speaks movingly for life of the Evremonde heir, now his son-in-law. But that release is immediately reversed when the Defarges produce the written history, snatched from concealment by Defarge during the Fall of the Bastille.