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Emma Curry, ‘Dickens’s Hand, Writing: Manuscripts, Language, and Embodiment ‘

As part of the ‘Deciphering Dickens’ project, I have been working on unravelling some of Dickens’s many corrections to the manuscript of Little Dorrit. This process is perhaps the closest we can get as readers to watching Dickens writing in front of us: by tracing how he troubles over phrases, begins and rebegins sentences, and endlessly modifies and qualifies his ideas, we are able to witness Dickens in the very act of creation, a mode which allows a deeper insight into how he painstakingly constructs his very distinctive literary style. In this paper I hope to further explore the implications of this sensation of looking over Dickens’s shoulder as he is writing, and to think through the ways in which seeing the marks of Dickens’s hand upon the page can reframe how we approach his writing, particularly when he is exploring the relationships between bodies and language in his work.

Essaka Joshua (Notre Dame) ‘Gothic Mobility and Curative Force in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.’ 

Following the recent publication of her study of Physical Disability in British Romantic Literature, Essaka Joshua explores neurodiversity and the figure of Scrooge in this seasonally apt paper on A Christmas Carol. In her examination of the associations Dickens develops between health and a morally curative narrative arc, Joshua interrogates how gothic mobility textures and nuances the imperative to improve. Joshua is an associate professor in Romantic and Victorian Studies at the University of Notre Dame and has published widely on disability studies, myth, and folklore across both fields.

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