DICKENS, CHARLES°

DICKENS, CHARLES°
DICKENS, CHARLES° (1812–1870), English novelist. One of his first full-length novels, Oliver Twist (1837–38), devoted to the evils of the poor-law system, introduces a Jewish villain, Fagin, a corrupter of youth and receiver of stolen goods. With Shakespeare's Shylock, Fagin is unquestionably the best-known Jewish figure depicted in the traditional canon of English literature. The young hero, Oliver, falls into Fagin's clutches but is saved from corruption by his own native innocence and by some good-hearted friends. Fagin, like the burglar Bill Sikes in the same novel, is one of Dickens' characters of monstrous evil, a literary stereotype larger than life. As for his Jewishness, Dickens claimed that "that class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew," but Fagin in fact lacks any recognizable Jewish traits. Dickens was challenged about his antisemitic prejudices, and in reply, claimed that he had always felt himself to be a friend of the Jews. As if to prove this, his last complete novel, Our Mutual Friend (1864–65), featured Mr. Riah, "the gentle Jew in whose race gratitude is deep." Jews appear in other novels of Dickens, notably Pickwick Papers (1836) and Martin Chuzzlewit (1843). Dickens' contradictory portrayal of Jews illustrates something of the ambiguity of the Jewish image in Victorian England, and also the deep contradictions in Dickens' own complex character. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Johnson, Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph, 2 vols. (1953); M.F. Modder, Jew in the Literature of England (1939), 217–36; E. Rosenberg, From Shylock to Svengali (1960), ch. 5. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Ackroyd, Charles Dickens (1990); J. Smole, Charles Dickens (2002); ODNB online. (Harold Harel Fisch)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Dickens, Charles — ▪ British novelist Introduction in full  Charles John Huffam Dickens   born Feb. 7, 1812, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Eng. died June 9, 1870, Gad s Hill, near Chatham, Kent  English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian era. His …   Universalium

  • Dickens, Charles Huffham — (1812 1870)    He was born at 387 Mile End Terrace, Commercial Road, Landport, Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire. His father was a clerk in the navy pay office at Portsmouth dockyard before moving to Chatham, Kent, around 1816. The father spent some …   British and Irish poets

  • Dickens, Charles (John Huffam) — (7 feb. 1812, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Inglaterra–9 jun. 1870, Gad s Hill, cerca de Chatham, Kent). Novelista británico, a menudo considerado el máximo exponente del período victoriano. Su padre, un empleado, cayó en prisión por deudas, y Dickens… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Dickens, Charles (John Huffam) — born Feb. 7, 1812, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Eng. died June 9, 1870, Gad s Hill, near Chatham, Kent British novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. When Dickens s father, a clerk, was thrown into debtors prison, the boy… …   Universalium

  • Dickens,Charles John Huffam — Dick·ens (dĭkʹĭnz), Charles John Huffam. Pen name Boz. 1812 1870. British writer known for his tales of Victorian life and times. His works, which first appeared in serialized form, include The Pickwick Papers (1836 1837), Oliver Twist (1837… …   Universalium

  • Dickens, Charles — ► (1812 70) Escritor británico, representante de la novela de inspiración social. En 1836 inició la publicación por entregas de Los papeles póstumos del Club Pickwick, obra maestra de la literatura de humor. Muy distinta es Oliver Twist (1837 38) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • DICKENS, CHARLES —    celebrated English novelist, born at Landport, Portsmouth; son of a navy clerk, latterly in great straits; was brought up amid hardships; was sent to a solicitor s office as a clerk, learned shorthand, and became a reporter, a post in which he …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Dickens, Charles — (1812 1870)    Novelist, b. at Landport, near Portsmouth, where his f. was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. The hardships and mortifications of his early life, his want of regular schooling, and his miserable time in the blacking factory, which… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

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  • Charles Dickens — Dickens redirects here. For other uses, see Dickens (disambiguation). Charles Dickens …   Wikipedia

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