Dickens in Relation to Criticism by George H. Lewes

This fascinating review is relevant not so much to our understanding of David Copperfield as about the psychological premises that were part of Lewes’s criticism and assumptions about Victorian psychology.

Fastidious readers were loath to admit that a writer could justly be called great whose defects were so glaring. They admitted, because it was indisputable, that Dickens delighted thousands, that is admirers were found in all classes and in all countries; that he stirred the sympathy of masses not easily reached through Literature, and always stirred healthy, generous emotions; that he impressed a new direction on popular writing, and modified the Literature of his age, in its spirit no less than in its form; but they nonetheless insisted on his defects as if these outweighed all positive qualities; and spoke of him either with condescending patronage, or with sneering irrigation. Surely this is a fact worthy of investigation?

View article by Lewes.

Website by Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University Libraries