Charles Dickens's David Copperfield
A Routledge Study Guide and Sourcebook
Edited by Richard J. Dunn
Routledge – 2003 – 184 pages
Series: Routledge Guides to Literature
This guidebook offers the ideal introduction to one of the most enduringly popular works of the nineteenth century. Richard J. Dunn first places David Copperfield in its social, biographical and literary contexts, touching upon such fascinating issues as autobiography and Victorian social conditions, before offering a handy chronology and reprinted documents from the period. In a second section, 'Interpretations', he traces responses to the novel from the first reviews to modern criticism and reprints extracts from key critical works. The overview and extracts together offer insight into a remarkable range of issues, from the novel's humour to its reflections of class and gender structures. The section also considers the long history of stage and screen interpretations of Dickens's highly dramatic text. The third major section pulls together text and context by reprinting key passages of the novel, carefully cross-referenced to materials in the previous sections. The links between text, context and criticism enable original readings of the novel and detailed, accessible headnotes to the extracts further enrich our understanding of the work. A final section suggests targeted further reading. Read from beginning to end or used as a reference tool, this sourcebook reveals the varied life of David Copperfield in the hands of generations of readers, critics and adaptors, and ensures that it will continue to thrive. An ideal introduction to one of Dicken's most popular novels, this text includes autobiography, text interpretations, period illustrations, stage and screen history, and key passages carefully cross-referenced to earlier material.
Richard J. Dunn is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Washington. He has published numerous studies of Victorian authors and has edited David Copperfield: An Annotated Bibliography (1981, supplement with Ann Tandy 2000) and Approaches to Teaching Dickens's David Copperfield (1984).