Women and Violence in Dickens' 'Great Expectations'

Judith Johnston


'If I were Mr. Gaskell 0 Heaven how I would beat her'. The year is 1855. The speaker is Charles Dickens, who in his role as editor of Household Words had quarrelled with one of his foremost contributors, Elizabeth Gaskell, over the best way to break up her latest story across several numbers of the journal. If Dickens never indulged in acts of violence against women in his personal life, he certainly carried them out in his fiction: most notably in Great Expectations, a novel that has remained consistently popular into the late twentieth century.

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