Title The One, Other, and Only Dickens
Author Garrett Stewart
ISBN 9781501730139
List price GBP 17.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 216
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Cornell University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
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“Garrett Stewart’s signature attentiveness finds a perfect object – and source – in the verbal and phonetic energies of Charles Dickens’s writing. Stewart shows that if we take such energy seriously enough we are led, inevitably, to more granular ways of reading. The result is an entirely new and welcome picture of Dickens’s prose, at close range, in all its uncanniness.”

Alex Woloch, Richard W. Lyman Professor of the Humanities, Stanford University

“No critic trains a finer ear than does Garrett Stewart on the sheer sound of Dickens’s language. A remarkable feat of attentive reading and writing equally, this study is a major contribution to our understanding of Dickensian prose.”

Daniel Tyler, University of Cambridge, editor of Dickens’s Style

“Under Stewart’s tutoring, the patterned but unruly sound effects we hardly knew we’d heard in Dickens ring distinct for the first time. Our unplugged ears open to a supplement of linguistic intensity that feels pointless and primal, idle and unbridled, simultaneously. The only certain work performed by this Other Dickens is to immerse us in his language more deeply: more dispersively. Stewart’s own word-play persuades us that such “too-richness” is the condition not only of Dickens’s expansive writing, but also of his closest readers.”

D.A. Miller, Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley, and author of Jane Austen, or the Secret of Style and Hidden Hitchcock


In The One, Other, and Only Dickens, Garrett Stewart casts new light on those delirious wrinkles of wording that are one of the chief pleasures of Dickens’s novels but that go regularly unnoticed in Dickensian criticism: the linguistic infrastructure of his textured prose. Stewart, in effect, looks over the reader’s shoulder in shared fascination with the local surprises of Dickensian phrasing and the restless undertext of his storytelling. For Stewart, this phrasal undercurrent attests both to Dickens’s early immersion in Shakespearean sonority and, at the same time, to the effect of Victorian stenography, with the repressed phonetics of its elided vowels, on the young author’s verbal habits long after his stint as a shorthand Parliamentary reporter.

To demonstrate the interplay and tension between narrative and literary style, Stewart draws out two personas within Dickens: the Inimitable Boz, master of plot, social panorama, and set-piece rhetorical cadences, and a verbal alter ego identified as the Other, whose volatile and intensively linguistic, even sub-lexical presence is felt throughout Dickens’s fiction. Across examples by turns comic, lyric, satiric, and melodramatic from the whole span of Dickens’s fiction, the famously recognizable style is heard ghosted in a kind of running counterpoint ranging from obstreperous puns to the most elusive of internal echoes: effects not strictly channeled into the service of overall narrative drive, but instead generating verbal microplots all their own. One result is a new, ear-opening sense of what it means to take seriously
Graham Greene’s famous passing mention of Dickens’s “secret prose.”


Foreword: Preparing the Way

Introduction: Some “Reagions” for Reading

Chapter 1: Shorthand Speech/Longhand Sound

Chapter 2: Secret Prose/Sequestered Poetics

Chapter 3: Phrasing Astraddle

Chapter 4: Reading Lessens

Afterword: “That Very Word, Reading”

Endpiece: The One and T’Otherest



About the Author:

Garrett Stewart is James O. Freedman Professor of Letters at University of Iowa. He is the author of several books on Victorian fiction as well as film theory, poetics, and conceptual art, including: Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction; The Deed of Reading: Literature • Writing • Language • Philosophy; and Transmedium: Conceptualism 2.0 and the New Object Art.

Target Audience:

Useful for people who read Dickens and want to understand his writings.

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