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Dickens and the Geological City

Dickens and the Geological City

(p.247) Chapter Seven Dickens and the Geological City
Novel Science
Adelene Buckland
University of Chicago Press

Charles Dickens's influence on the earth sciences seems minute at first, especially considering the contribution of figures such as Walter Scott, George Eliot, or Charles Kingsley. Insightful new readings have recently been made of Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend wherein their protagonists are viewed as excavators of ruined and buried pasts, however more direct and concrete links between Dickens' work and evolutionary science have focused mostly on his novels of the 1860s. This chapter focuses on the sites in which “science” took place in the nineteenth century—delving particularly on maps and illustrations, on learned societies and gentleman's club, and on periodical culture. It is in these avenues that, it seems, Dickens was more fully engaged than many of his fellow contemporaries.

Keywords:   Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend, evolutionary science, gentleman's club, periodical culture, maps and illustrations

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