Critical Articles

Recommended Editions

We recommend the following texts for the 2022 Dickens Universe.

David Copperfield. Written by Charles Dickens, edited by Jeremy Tambling.
Penguin Classics, 2004. ISBN: 9780140439441

Iola Leroy or, Shadows Uplifted. Written by Frances Harper, edited by Koritha Mitchell.
Broadview Press, 2018. ISBN: 9781554813858

To familiarize yourself with the author, we recommend the following biography:

Charles Dickens, A Life by Jane Smiley
Publisher: Penguin 2011
ISBN: 978-0143119920 (paperback)


Selected Critical Articles (Password-protected PDFs coming soon!)

David Copperfield, Dickens, and Race:

  • Vanessa Dickerson. “On Coming to America: The British Subject and the African American Slave.” Dark Victorians, University of Illinois Press, 2008, pp. 13-43.
  • Elaine Freedgood. “Realism, Fetishism, and Genocide: Negro Head Tobacco in and Around Great Expectations.The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel.  The University of Chicago Press, 2006, pp. 81-110.
  • Daniel Hack. “Close Reading Bleak House at a Distance.Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature, Princeton University Press, 2017, pp. 23-44.
  • Tara Macdonald. “red-headed animal;’: Race, Sexuality, and Dickens’s Uriah Heep” Critical Survey, vol. 17, no. 2, 2005, pp. 48-62.
  • Laura Peters. “Racial Difference and ‘The Noble Savage.’” Dickens and Race, Manchester University Press, 2013, pp. 54-81.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper:

  • Koritha Mitchell, Introduction to Frances E. W. Harper, Iola Leroy; Or, Shadows Uplifted. (Ontario: Broadview Press, 2018).
  • Hazel Carby, Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), Chapter 4, “‘Of Lasting Service for the Race’: The Work of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper,” p. 62-94.
  • Frances Smith Foster. “Gender, Genre and Vulgar Secularism: The Case of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and the AME Press.” Recovered Writers/Recovered Texts: Race, Class, and Gender in Black Women’s Literature. Ed. Dolan Hubbard (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1997), p. 46-59.
  • P. Gabrielle Foreman, Activist Sentiments: Reading Black Women in the Nineteenth Century (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009), Chapter 3: “Reading White Slavery, Sexuality, and Embedded History in Frances E. W. Harper’s Iola Leroy,” p. 73-112.
  • Eric Gardner, “African American Literary Reconstructions and the ‘Propaganda of History,’” American Literary History 30.3 (Fall 2018): 429-449.