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International Journal of Research in English

Vol. 3, Issue 1, Part A (2021)

The gothic other in Charles Dickens’s novels: Oliver twist, Bleak house, and Great expectations


Sana Ayed Chebil


This paper focuses on three novels written at the time of Victorian England: Oliver Twist, Bleak House, and Great Expectations. All of them are mainly realistic novels which incorporate various genres including the Gothic. The Victorian era, as described by various critics, is 'an age of transition'. This context constructs fears and anxieties towards the changing society. Urbanization and industrialization in the late eighteenth century, for instance, shifted the Victorian ways of life and contributed to urban growth. They are transformations that are mirrored in nineteenth-century literary works. Dickens's novels reflect many of the fears of the Victorian context: the fears of the racial 'other', poverty and slums, and the transgression of traditional gender roles. This paper examines the use of the Gothic in Charles Dickens’s novels from 1830s to 1860s, dealing with various themes and various forms of Otherness. Its aim is to analyze the use of the Gothic in his novels that is interested in debates about the horrific environment of the nineteenth-century city, particularly in relation to issues of crime, urban contamination, and other concerns. It stresses on the notion of ‘Otherness,’ based on issues of race, class, and gender. The aim of the first part is to define the term ‘Gothic’ and introduce the context in which the genre appeared. It is about the social context that leads to the revival of the Gothic genre in the nineteenth-century novel. Then, the focus will be on the representations of the Gothic Other in Dickens’s novels. To reach this goal, he relies on biblical imagery, apocalypse, and myths that represent the Gothic world. The Gothic examined in this paper comes from various sources: classical, biblical, and modern. Dickens’s use of the Gothic genre draws heavily on various motifs such as folklore, myths, and allusions to biblical and classical texts that influence him.

Pages: 15-23  |  454 Views  165 Downloads

How to cite this article:
Sana Ayed Chebil. The gothic other in Charles Dickens’s novels: Oliver twist, Bleak house, and Great expectations. Int. J. Res. Engl. 2021;3(1):15-23. DOI: 10.33545/26648717.2021.v3.i1a.42
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