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Volume :17 Issue : 67 1999      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Reception of Dickens: From his First English Readers to his Present-Day Arab Readers

Auther : Antony Johae

The aim of this paper is to trace reader responses to Dickenss fiction at the time of original publication to the present day. It will first show how the reception of Dickenss novels has to some extent been conditioned not only by the social mores of a particular society in a particular period, but by the circumstances of the production, distribution, and consumption of fiction, To this extent, the paper will be situated in the disciplinary area of cultural studies.

The focus of the paper is then narrowed to specifically literary concerns and considers the responses to Dickenss fiction of two nineteenth-century Russin novelists---Tolstoy and Dostoevsky- who undoubtedly read his work and whose own writings in various respects show marked signs of influence by the English novelist.

Two twentieth-century European writers-Proust and Kafka-are referred to with a view to understandung how their reading of the English author had an effect on the production of their own fiction. The reception of Dickens by two twentieth-century Arab-novelists-Naguib Mahfouz and Hanna Minnah- is then considered with the conclusion that it is the socio-political dimensions of Dickens novels which mainly attracted them, although in the latter case, sentiment also plays an import role.

The paper ends with a brief look at Dickenss reputation in the Arab world today, with particular reference to his frequent representation on courses in Arab universities.

 

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