Charles Dickens: Our Mutual Friend

(2150 words)

Ever since Our Mutual Friend was first published in 1864-5, the fractured and disjointed nature of its narrative structure(s) have been noted by critics, both in terms of criticism and praise. Whether the novel is seen as a mish-mash of Dickensian satire and Eliotesque psychological realism, a proto-modernist narrative of fragmentation, or even a post-modernist experiment, it is surely an example par excellence of what Bakhtin would call a “dialogic” text. As Stephen Gill writes in his “Introduction” to the Penguin edition of the novel (1971), “Our Mutual Friend seems the product of not one but many visions of life, which are embodied in a great range of styles [….] The disparity between these styles is g…

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Taylor, Jonathan. "Our Mutual Friend". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 October 2002
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]