Based in the city that gave Charles Dickens inspiration throughout his writing life, this groundbreaking London research programme offers students unique access not only to world-class scholars and practitioners drawn from the field of Dickens Studies and the media but furthermore to the unique collections of the Charles Dickens Museum
It is directed by Professor John Drew and Dr Pete Orford, Dickens experts of international reputation, who are also full-time members of the University’s highly regarded Department of English and Digital Media.
The course enables the student to undertake research on a specific topic, agreed with the supervisor, in any area of Dickens Studies: his novels, short fiction, journalism, plays, the public readings, adaptations of his work (cinematic, theatrical) as well as comparative work on translations, writing by precursors, contemporaries, rivals, imitators and inheritors. The research is presented in the form of three ‘Project Preliminaries’: an extended research proposal, an annotated bibliography, and a short research-based case study for which students will be invited to investigate either the archive holdings of the Charles Dickens Museum or the network of Dickens’s collaborators for his journals, as made available by the University’s celebrated project Dickens Journals Online. On successful completion of these three preliminary projects, students will then progress to their dissertation, written under the guidance of the supervisor, of not less than 20,000 words.
A central feature of the course will be its series of ten evening seminars with distinguished speakers, held both at the University’s Gower Street premises and in the Board Room of the Charles Dickens Museum, each followed by a dinner and discussion, in private rooms at a nearby restaurant in Bloomsbury.
Previous seminar speakers include:
Professor Michael Slater, MBE. Britain’s foremost Dickensian scholar and biographer; Professor Emeritus of Victorian Literature, Birkbeck College; former editor of The Dickensian.
Miriam Margolyes, OBE. Actress & BAFTA Award Winner. Deviser, co-writer & performer of the international award-winning show, Dickens’ Women.
Judith Flanders. Senior Research Fellow, Humanities Research Institute, University of Buckingham; author of award-winning works of Victorian social history, including The Invention of Murder, The Victorian House, The Victorian City, Everyday Life in Dickens’ London.
Lucinda Hawksley. Critic, broadcaster, great-great-great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, and author of recent books on Dickens’s circle, his artist daughter Katie, and the Pre-Raphaelites.
Dr Tony Williams. President of the international Dickens Fellowship, Associate Editor of The Dickensian, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Buckingham.
The incredibly wide-reaching influence and impact of Dickens as a writer, performer, editor and social reformer in the English-speaking world means that Dickens Studies can, therefore, span an equally wide range of research topics right across nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary and print culture. Themes addressed by the seminars will include:
- the lights and shadows of Dickensian biography
- Dickens as a short-story writer
- Dickens’s reception in the twentieth-century
- Dickens and the development of detective and thriller fiction
- Dickens’s influence as an editor and social reformer
- the cultural importance of adaptations of Dickens’s work
- the power of Dickens’s language
- the performative nature of Dickensian characters
- Dickens in the digital age
The course will begin with three practical seminars about how to choose, research and write an academic dissertation, and how to handle archival materials, held at the University’s London offices, 51 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6HJ and at the Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street.
Places on the new course are limited in number, and early application is advised. For dates of the seminars, please click on “Teaching & Assessment”. Those wishing to attend the seminars, but not to undertake a dissertation, may join the course as Associate Students at a reduced fee.
Dickens specialists working alongside Professor Drew and Dr Orford in the Department of English and Digital Media or as Honorary Research Fellows include: Dr Jonathan Buckmaster, Dr Nick Cambridge, Dr Hazel Mackenzie, Professor Cathy Waters, and Dr Tony Williams.
For further details contact: