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Rain of Years:

Rain of Years:: Great Expectations and the World of Dickens

Bernard N. Schilling
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 120
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  • Book Info
    Rain of Years:
    Book Description:

    This is the last book by the noted English scholar Bernard Schilling. A remarkably compact survey of all the novels by Charles Dickens, it shows the unity of the whole body of work by reviewing basic scenes and images in the novels. It is the result of many years of reading and teaching Dickens, and demonstrates a thorough familiarity with Victorian literature in general. The book argues that Great Expectations is the novel which brings together all the main themes of Dickens's vision. Schilling's affectionate treatment of the characters found with Dickens's world will appeal to anyone interested in English literature, and is a fitting final work by a master of prose himself. Bernard Schilling was Trevor Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Rochester. He was author of several books, including The Comic Spirit, The Comic World of Dickens, and Twentieth Century Views: Dryden.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-670-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Louis L. Martz

    Bernard Schilling’s book is the culmination of a lifetime’s love of the works of Dickens. He has read the novels over and over again, until he has virtually memorized their themes and images. As a result, this final tribute creates the effect of having been written spontaneously out of a huge store of Dickensian memories. The main thrust of the book lies in the interpretation ofGreat Expectations, but around the images and characters of this novel cluster echoes drawn from the whole range of Dickens’s writings.

    What is most impressive is the skill with which the work is organized....

  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. 1 Of Things Eternal
    (pp. 1-24)

    Although dickens has no declared plan for the whole, it is clear that his fictional world overlaps the installments in which it was written, just as he overlapped parts of any single work to bring it into unity. With three phases of publication—serial, novel, and collected works—the flow of meaning is from single chapters, to volumes, to the final whole. He thus connects the individual works together and greatly enlarges their implications. Stock characters, incidents, situations, kinds of people are repeated to form an atmosphere, a fictional quality to which we give the name “Dickensian.” Further, Dickens controls...

  8. 2 The Human Scene
    (pp. 25-62)

    If things eternal are made up of essential elements that repeat themselves in Dickens’s creation, so is the human scene composed of familiar things that rarely change save on the surface or in detail. These are of man rather than of Nature, where even the bells and clocks marking time are only a convenience for men to determine their present relationship to what always is. The protagonist in Dickens tends to move between two places, one good, one evil, as in the Paris and London ofA Tale of Two Cities.InGreat Expectations, Pip must survive the clashing influences...

  9. 3 Great Expectations
    (pp. 63-107)

    The dominance of money as atheme continues inGreat Expectations. Throughout Dickens’s creations the language and metaphor of money, the terms of indebtedness, lending, borrowing, rates of payment and return tell us what money can do, how it can change distinctions of class, how it can completely alter the conditions of life.

    While money is not in itself evil, we see that the drive to get money accounts for large areas of human wickednesss—depending on what is done to obtain it and how it is finally spent. Money affects such a vast area of human nature and human activity...

  10. 4 The Rain of Years
    (pp. 108-115)

    Eleven years pass, and pip is now in his thirty-fifth year “when, upon an evening in December, an hour or two after dark” he touches the latch of the old kitchen door. The room discloses a new little Pip amid a scene of ideal domestic happiness so far denied to his mature namesake. When Biddy raises the question of Pip’s old love for Estella, the transition is natural to Pip’s own return to Satis House, although it does not ensure Estella’s being there. The final scene takes place at an hour most favored by Dickens—the end of day. Pip...

  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 116-116)