Course Instructor Days Times Room


An introduction to Charles Dickens and his age. Although we will concentrate on the novels that are his great achievement, we will also spend some time on his shorter sketches, journalism, biography, and adaptations of his fiction for performance. We'll be especially interested in Dickens's imagination of human ecologies in a new industrial age, as well as in Dickens's ability to fuse genres from nonfiction to comedy and melodrama.

Principal readings will include the following principal texts as well as electronic readings from Sketches by Boz

  • The Old Curiosity Shop (Penguin, ISBN 9780140437423)
  • Dombey and Son (Penguin, 9780140435467)
  • Bleak House (Norton, 9780393093322)
  • Little Dorrit (Penguin, 9780141439969)
  • "A Christmas Carol" and Other Christmas Books (Oxford, 9780199536306)
  • "The Story of Little Dombey" and Other Performance Fictions (Broadview, 9781554811649)

These editions are recommended.

Books by other authors (optional—choose one? available at and elsewhere):

  • Michael Slater, Charles Dickens (Yale, 9780300170931)
  • Claire Tomalin, Charles Dickens: A Life (Penguin, 9780143122050)



In keeping with the "W" designation, ENGL 4525W is a writing-intensive course. This means not only that the class will include substantial written assignments but also that it will incorporate specific attention to the writing process, from planning to revision.