My professor has been working on Charles Dickens. It is natural for me to be familiar with him when I was in the master’s programme, but to be honest, until the doctor’s programme, I didn’t find an interest from him at all. Swear to my professor’s honour, it is responsible for me. There are very few writers like him with a curious attraction we notice when scrutinising his texts.
He is one of the most prominent authors in the Victorian period, and in Japan, Christmas Carol might be the most popular. Producing a body of works, having rich vitality, he also wrote social novels with a sense of strong justice. David Copperfield was an autobiography completed when he was only thirty-three (he died twenty years later), so some parts of it belong to his own experiences. As well as other works, he introduces a lot of peculiar characters with their particular bodily features, embodying their own characteristics — Mr. Micawber, Mr. Dick, Betsey Trotwood, Mr. and Mrs Peggotty and so on. The novel is full of such comical and profound characters to satisfy our curiosity with a variety of their particularities.
Here, I attempt to overview the novel, reading this following passage.
“That little fellow seems to be no part of me; I remember him as something left behind upon the road of life—as something I have passed, rather than have actually been—and almost think of him as of someone else.” (Ch. XIII)
This sense, which is a remarkable trait of the novel, penetrates through the whole. At that time, “autobiographical novel” is a trend in novels, due to following the great success of Jane Eyre, it is said that Dickens might attempted to write it. At any rate, both novels are quite different because of the sense of David above. Of course David is set as a narrator of the novel, on the other hand, David as a protagonist and he, who tells his own story, is disparate. Besides, it is ambiguous when he writes it. Thus it can be recognised that, from that view, it is more fictional than autobiographical as to the same extent as other novels, considering the writer David has no present time.
The rhetorical narrative form, gradually appearing in the mid-Victorian period, comes to be common in Modernism in the very sharply way. Dickens’ talent that he uses it automatically might be infinite.