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John Parham (2010)
Publisher: Open Library of Humanities
Journal: 19 : Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: D204-475, Dickens, evolution, social ecology, technology, Modern history, 1453-, PE
Identifiers:doi:10.16995/ntn.529
This article addresses the obscuring of Dickens’s interest in contemporary science. It argues that Dickens was acquainted with those scientific developments – evolutionary biology and energy physics – that would converge, in the nineteenth century, to form ecological science. Arguing that Dickens then applied his interest in science, and his own conception of a ‘poetic science’ towards an analysis of society, the paper considers his examination of industry, technology, and the physical shape that these bequeathed to the Victorian city in the light of contemporary 'social' ecology. The article ends by arguing that Dickens’s double-edged understanding of technology and the city allows us to understand his writing as an example of what John Clark has called a ‘social ecology of the imagination’ and, more generally, of a reconstructive quality shared with social ecology.
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    • 3 Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz, ed. by Dennis Walder (London: Penguin, 1995), p. 74. Further references to this edition, abbreviated as SB, appear in parentheses after citations in the text.
    • 4 Lawrence Buell, Writing for an Endangered World: Literature, Culture, and Environment in the U.S. and Beyond (Cambridge, MA and London: Belknap Press, 2001), p. 31.
    • 5 James C. McKusick, Green Writing: Romanticism and Ecology (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 2000), p. 27.
    • 6 Jonathan Bate, The Song of the Earth (London: Picador, 2000), p. 245.
    • 7 Scott Russell Sanders, 'Speaking a Word for Nature', in The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology, ed. by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm (Athens, GA and London: University of Georgia Press, 1996), pp. 182-95 (p. 183).
    • 8 See Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism (Abingdon: Routledge, 2004), pp. 20-23; 27-30; John Parham, Green Man Hopkins: Poetry and the Victorian Ecological Imagination (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010), pp. 23-29.
    • 9 Murray Bookchin, The Modern Crisis. (Montreal and New York: Black Rose Books, 1987), p. 59.
    • 10 Murray Bookchin, 'Will Ecology become “The Dismal Science”?', in The Environmental Ethics and Policy Book, ed. by Donald VanDeVeer and Christine Pierce (Belmont and London: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2003), pp. 273-77 (pp. 273-74).
    • 11 Glen A. Love, Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology and the Environment (Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2003), pp. 6, 8.
    • 12 Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, ed. by Peter Fairclough (London: Penguin, 1985), p. 739. Further references to this edition, abbreviated as DS, appear in parentheses after citations in the text.
    • 13 K. J. Fielding, 'Dickens and Science', Dickens Quarterly, 13 (1996), 200-16 (pp. 204-05).
    • 14 The Letters of Charles Dickens, ed. by Graham Storey and others, 12 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965-2002), VI (1988), pp. 105-06, 110. Further references to this source, abbreviated as Letters, appear in parentheses after citations in the text.
    • 15 Gillian Beer, Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and NineteenthCentury Fiction, third edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 40, 6, 19.
    • 16 George Levine, Darwin and the Novelists: Patterns of Science in Victorian Fiction. (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1988), p. 156.
    • 17 Levine, pp. 119-22.
    • 18 The Victorian Novel, ed. by Francis O' Gorman (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), p. 252.
    • 19 Fielding, pp. 203, 211-12; and see p. 201.
    • 20 Charles Dickens, 'The Poetry of Science', The Examiner, 9 December 1848. Repr. in Charles Dickens: Complete Works (Centennial Edition) 'Miscellaneous Papers I' (London: Heron Books, [n.d.]), pp. 135-38 (pp. 135-36).
    • 21 Bruno Latour, Science in Action (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1987), pp. 132-44.
    • 22 Latour, p. 141.
    • 23 Michel Serres, Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy, ed. by Josué V. Harari and David F. Bell (Baltimore and London: John Hopkins University Press, 1982), pp. 54-62.
    • 24 See Daniel Brown, Hopkins' Idealism: Philosophy, Physics, Poetry (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997).
    • 25 Adelene Buckland, '“The Poetry of Science”: Charles Dickens, Geology, and Visual and Material Culture in Victorian London', Victorian Literature and Culture, 35 (2007), 679-94 (pp. 681, 679).
    • 26 Buckland, pp. 685-86.
    • 27 Greg Myers, 'Nineteenth-Century Popularizations of Thermodynamics and the Rhetoric of Social Prophecy', in Energy and Entropy: Science and Culture in Victorian Britain, ed. by Patrick Brantlinger (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989), pp. 307-38 (p. 308).
    • 28 Myers, p. 314.
    • 29 Beer, p. 6.
    • 30 Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, ed. by Stephen Gill (London: Penguin, 1985), pp. 138-39. Further references to this edition, abbreviated as OMF, appear in parentheses after citations in the text.
    • 31 The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges, ed. by Claude Colleer Abbott (London: Oxford University Press, 1935), p. 281.
    • 32 See The Complete Works of John Ruskin, ed. by E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, 39 vols (London: George Allen, 1903-12), V, p. 387.
    • 33 Robert Hewison, '“Paradise Lost”: Ruskin and Science', in Time and Tide: Ruskin and Science ed. by Michael Wheeler (London: Pilkington Press, 1996), pp. 29-44 (pp. 43-44).
    • 34 Buckland, p. 692.
    • 35 Jonathan Arac, Commissioned Spirits: The Shaping of Social Motion in Dickens, Carlyle, Melville and Hawthorne (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), p. 126.
    • 36 Peter Dickens, Society and Nature: Towards a Green Social Theory (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992), p. 159.
    • 37 John Clark, 'A Social Ecology', Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 8 (1997), 3-33 (p. 20).
    • 38 The Speeches of Charles Dickens: A Complete Edition, ed. by K. J. Fielding (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1988), p. 54. Further references to this source, abbreviated as Speeches, appear in parentheses after citations in the text.
    • 39 And see Sanders, pp. 158-59.
    • 40 Marshall Berman, All that is Solid Melts into Air (London: Verso, 1982), pp. 142-48.
    • 41 David Rapport and others, Ecosystem Health (Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell Science, 1998), p. 1.
    • 42 Terrell Dixon, 'The Literature of Toxicity from Rachel Carson to Ana Castillo', in Interconnections Between Human and Ecosystem Health, ed. by Richard T. Di Giulio and Emily Monosson (London: Chapman and Hall, 1996), pp. 237-58 (p. 257).
    • 43 Charles Dickens, Bleak House, (London: Penguin Classics, 1994), p. 1. Further references to this edition, abbreviated as BH, appear in parentheses after citations in the text.
    • 44    Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, ed. by John Holloway (London: Penguin, 1985), pp. 67-68. Further references to this edition, abbreviated as LD, appear in parentheses after citations in the text.
    • 45 Dickens, 'The Poetry of Science', pp. 137-38.
    • 46 Christopher Hamlin, 'Providence and Putrefaction: Victorian Sanitarians and the Natural Theology of Health and Disease', in Energy and Entropy, ed. by Brantlinger, pp. 93-123 (p. 94).
    • 47 See Kevin Fitzpatrick and Mark LaGory, Unhealthy Places: The Ecology of Risk in the Urban Landscape (New York and London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 6-8.
    • 48 Cited in Michael Slater, Charles Dickens (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), p. 378.
    • 49 Joni Adamson, Mei Mei Evans and Rachel Stein, The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics and Pedagogy (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2002), p. 4.
    • 50     See Arac, p. 131.
    • 51 Graham Storey, 'Dickens in his Letters: the Regress of the Radical', in Dickens and Other Victorians: Essays in Honour of Philip Collins, ed. by Joanne Shattock (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988), pp. 65-74 (p. 67).
    • 52 Storey, p. 67.
    • 53 See Sanders, p.174.
    • 54 Buckland, pp. 683-84, 686.
    • 55 Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (London: Hogarth Press, 1985), pp. 161-62.
    • 56 Janet Biehl, The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1998), pp. 97-99.
    • 57 Peter Gould, Early Green Politics: Back to Nature, Back to the Land and Socialism in Britain 1880-1900 (Brighton: Harvester, 1988), pp. 62-63.
    • 58 Bate, pp. 253-57.
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