About the Dickens Project

The Dickens Project is headquartered above Monterey Bay on the beautiful campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Arguably the first modern novelist, Charles Dickens's concern with social and environmental issues, urban crime, child abuse, poverty, and exploitation, makes him very much a writer for our own time, partly because he is so much a writer of his own time. The Victorian Period faced, and in some cases created, the same problems that concern us today. Through the study of Dickens and some of his contemporaries, we engage in an ongoing social commentary that is still relevant. As a writer, Dickens is modern in his self-consciousness about the act of writing fiction. His novels explore aspects of the writer's dilemma in ways that invite new critical methods.

Concerned with these simultaneously historic and modern issues, the Dickens Project consists of faculty and graduate students from major American and international universities. Founded in 1981 and headquartered at UC Santa Cruz, the Dickens Project consortium now consists of over 45 colleges and universities from across the United States and overseas.

The Project creates opportunities for collaborative research on Dickens and the Victorian age, and disseminates research findings through annual conferences, institutes, and publications. It supports the professional development of graduate students and produces curricular material for teaching Victorian literature at both secondary and post-secondary levels.

The Dickens Project is a Multi-campus Research Unit (MRU) of the University of California. Its research activities have been supported by extra-mural grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education, the California Council for the Humanities, the California Arts Council, the Exxon Education Foundation, dues from member schools, and private gifts. Activities for the general public are supported in part by contributions to a private, non-profit organization, The Friends of the Dickens Project.