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Beginnings, endings, births, deaths: Sterne, Dickens, and Bleak House

Beaumont, M; (2012) Beginnings, endings, births, deaths: Sterne, Dickens, and Bleak House. Textual Practice , 26 (5) pp. 807-827. 10.1080/0950236X.2012.669402.

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Abstract

This article explores Dickens's attempt to think through the narrative problem of beginning and ending, with particular reference to Bleak House. Dickens is acutely conscious, it argues, of the ways in which beginnings and endings are mutually entangled, though this has not been reflected in the extensive scholarship on his fiction. The article suggests that Dickens uses the example of Sterne and, in particular, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, to reflect critically on the problem of representing beginnings and endings. In Bleak House, Sterne's metaphors for birth are effectively transmuted into metaphors for death. In his treatment of birth and death, beginnings and endings, Dickens dramatises the proximity of being and non-being, and the difficulty of affirming identity in the face of what Edward Said, in his book on beginnings, called the anonymity of pure negation. © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Type: Article
Title: Beginnings, endings, births, deaths: Sterne, Dickens, and Bleak House
DOI: 10.1080/0950236X.2012.669402
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1394974
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