The grotesque in the fiction of Charles Dickens and other 19 th-century european novelists

Isabelle Hervouet

Edited by

Isabelle Hervouet-Farrar and Max Vega-Ritter

This book provides an overview of the literary grotesque in 19th-century Europe, with special emphasis on Charles Dickens, whose use of this complex aesthetic category is thus addressed in relation with other 19th-century European writers. The crossing of geographical boundaries allows an in-depth study of the different modes of the grotesque found in 19th-century fiction. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the reasons behind the extensive use of such a favoured mode of expression. Intertextuality and comparative or cultural analysis are thus used here to shed new light on Dickens’s influences (both given and received), as well as to compare and contrast his use of the grotesque with that of key 19th-century writers like Hugo, Gogol, Thackeray, Hardy and a few others. The essays of this volume examine the various forms taken by the grotesque in 19th-century European fiction, such as, for example, the fusion of the familiar and the uncanny, or of the terrifying and the comic ; as well as the figures and narrative techniques best suited for the expression of a novelist’s grotesque vision of the world. These essays contribute to an assessment of the links between the grotesque, the gothic and the fantastic, and, more generally, the genres and aesthetic categories which the 19th-century grotesque fed on, like caricature, the macabre and tragicomedy. They also examine the novelists’ grotesque as contributing to the questioning of society in Victorian Britain and 19th-century Europe, echoing its raging conflicts and the shocks of scientific progress. This study naturally adopts as its theoretical basis the works of key theorists and critics of the grotesque : namely, Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire and John Ruskin in the 19th century, and Mikhail Bakhtin, Wolfgang Kayser, Geoffrey Harpham and Elisheva Rosen in the 20th century.

Table of Contents

Introduction : The Grotesque in the Nineteenth Century

Isabelle Hervouet-Farrar

Part I : Influences and Early Forms

Chapter One

L’Histoire du roi de Bohême and Oliver Twist under Cruikshank’s Patronage : The Dynamics of Text and Image at the Core of the Grotesque in the Novel of the 1830s

Dominique Peyrache-Leborgne

Chapter Two

The Grotesque and the “Drama of the Body” in Notre-Dame de Paris and The Man who Laughs by Victor Hugo

Sylvie Jeanneret

Chapter Three

From Smollett to Dickens : Roderick (Random), Barnaby (Rudge), and the Raven

Anne Rouhette

Chapter Four

Of Giants and Grotesques : The Dickensian Grotesque and the Return from Italy

Michael Hollington

Part II : Expressing 19th-century Reality : Reason vs. Unreason

Chapter Five

Grotesque Extravagance in the Fictional Worlds of Charles Dickens and Nicolas Gogol from the Perspectives of “Fantastic Realism” and the European Grotesque Tradition

Florence Clerc

Chapter Six

Figures of the Grotesque in The Snobs of England / The Book of Snobs, by William Makepeace Thackeray

Jacqueline Fromonot

Chapter Seven

From “Absolute Realism” to Nocturnal Grotesque in Gérard de Nerval’s October Nights

Bérangère Chaumont

Chapter Eight

The Flâneur and the Grotesque Figures of the Metropolis in the Works of Charles Dickens and Charles Baudelaire

Isabel Vila-Cabanes

Chapter Nine

The Construction of the Monstrous in Charles Dickens’s Fiction from The Old Curiosity Shop to A Tale of Two Cities

Max Véga-Ritter

Chapter Ten

An “Uncanny Revel” : The Poetics and Politics of the Grotesque in Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge

Thierry Goater

Part III : Resisting and Negotiating Change

Chapter Eleven

“Primitive Elements in a Modern Context” : The Grotesque in The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Isabelle Hervouet-Farrar

Chapter Twelve

Arts of Dismemberment, Anatomy, Articulation and the Grotesque Body in Our Mutual Friend

Victor Sage

Chapter Thirteen

The Grotesque and Darwin’s Theory in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Wilkie Collins’s No Name

Delphine Cadwallader-Bourron

Chapter Fourteen

The Female Grotesque in Dickens

Marianne Camus

Chapter Fifteen

Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm : The Grotesque of not such a Gross Text

Gilbert Pham-Thanh

Chapter Sixteen

The Return of Dickens’s Grotesques on Screen

Florence Bigo-Renault

Conclusion : Regeneration and Permanence of the Grotesque

Isabelle Hervouet-Farrar




Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing,

ISBN-13 : 978-1-4438-6756-6

ISBN-10 : 1-4438-6756-X

Prix : £47.99

Année de publication : décembre 2014