Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Peter Cook
    Pages 1-29
  3. Peter Cook
    Pages 31-84
  4. Peter Cook
    Pages 85-142
  5. Peter Cook
    Pages 143-196
  6. Peter Cook
    Pages 197-253
  7. Peter Cook
    Pages 255-269
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 271-276

About this book


This book explores the relationship between Dickens and canonical Romantic authors: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley, and Keats.  Addressing a significant gap in Dickens studies, four topics are identified: Childhood, Time, Progress, and Outsiders, which together constitute the main aspects of Dickens’s debt to the Romantics. Through close readings of key Romantic texts, and eight of Dickens’s novels, Peter Cook investigates how Dickens utilizes Romantic tropes to express his responses to the exponential growth of post-revolutionary industrial, technological culture and its effects on personal life and relationships. In this close study of Dickensian Romanticism, Cook demonstrates the enduring relevance of Dickens and the Romantics to contemporary culture.


Charles Dickens Romantic poetry Romanticism Dickens studies influence of the Romantics William Blake Wordsworth Coleridge Byron Percy Mary Shelley John Keats

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Anglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK

About the authors

Peter Cook is Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. His publications cover a wide range of interests, from the Romantics to Ted Hughes.

Bibliographic information


“It is a pleasure to encounter a thoughtful, illuminating analysis of a familiar novel that offers a fresh and innovative perspective. ... The Romantic Legacy of Charles Dickens is Cook’s extensive research, presented in a way that is readable, accessible and clear, avoiding the pitfall of making the book sound like a doctoral dissertation. ... the book will ultimately create a fruitful legacy of its own among future scholars.” (Sara L. Pearson, Brontë Studies, Vol. 44 (4), October, 2019)

“Strengths of this study include its extensive close readings, attention to historical and cultural context, and identification of parallels between Romantic and Dickensian imagery. While the book will primarily be useful to literary scholars or humanists working on Dickens, it will also appeal to historians or scholars in cultural studies interested in the effects of indus­trialization, science, technology, modernity, and urbanization on the individual and society.” (Kristen Starkowski, Journal of Victorian Culture, March 14, 2019)