Catherine Peters

Amuthement Arcade

The Dickens Dictionary: An A–Z of England’s Greatest Novelist

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Icon Books 197pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

Charles Dickens and ‘Boz’: The Birth of the Industrial-Age Author

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Cambridge University Press 426pp £45 order from our bookshop

Charles Dickens’s Networks: Public Transport and the Novel

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Oxford University Press 272pp £25 order from our bookshop

Three professors, two university presses, three more books to add to the tottering pile. It is time to be scholarly about Dickens. Yet ‘people mutht be amuthed’, as Mr Sleary reiterates in Hard Times. Dickens vehemently believed that readers learn nothing from instruction if they are not first engaged through feeling and humour. So I was relieved to find that John Sutherland’s first entry in The Dickens Dictionary is on ‘Amuthement’ and that his short book is lighthearted, entertaining and, to my mind, the most stimulating of the three under review. 

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