Charles Dickens: David Copperfield

(3121 words)
  • Susan Garner-Jones (University of Liverpool)

Dickens’s “favourite child”, David Copperfield, is a troubled one, reflecting, as he does, the author’s own uncertainties, contradictions and inconsistencies. As narrator of his own life, David “records that he is born” in a tone finely poised between reflective distance and narrative immediacy which is to characterize the novel as a whole; and this poise enables Dickens both to recreate childhood from a mature point of view, and also to re-enter, simultaneously conveying its joy and suffering and masking personal pain with laughter and creative caricature. Major themes, such as the sea and pre-emptive death, appear almost immediately, pulling the reader into the web of a man’s life.

The plot concerns the life o…

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Garner-Jones, Susan. "David Copperfield". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 August 2005
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]