Authorship and Literary Production

  • Grahame Smith
Part of the Literary Lives book series (LL)


Contemporary theories of authorship, especially those influenced by film studies, have taught us that the process of defining authors through naming them is more complicated than common sense would suggest. ‘Dickens’, a convenient and perhaps unavoidable label, masks a range of Dickenses which, taken together, constitute a highly complex whole. This very richness suggests the difficulty of holding the complete range of what can be meant by Dickens in one’s head at any given moment. And, in fact, there is a tendency to privilege a single strand of this complex in relation to the discourse that currently preoccupies the reader and critic. There is, for example, a continuing debate in Dickens studies on the question of his relative conservatism or radicalism, especially in relation to supposed changes of view as he got older. If Dickens’s journalism is privileged as a way of clarifying the issue a case can be made that he did, indeed, become socially and politically more conservative with advancing years. Concentration on the novels, however, might suggest very different answers to the problem.


Literary Production Literary Text Serial Publication Public Reading Amateur Theatrical 
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Copyright information

© Grahame Smith 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grahame Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StirlingUK

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