Charles Dickens: Barnaby Rudge (3586 words)

Francesca Mackenney (University of Bristol)
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In 1836, a young Charles Dickens set to work on his first historical novel, originally entitled “Gabriel Varden: the Locksmith of London”. From its conception, the novel was a bold attempt to emulate both the style and success of the founding father of historical fiction, Sir Walter Scott. Unquestionably, the young novelist’s ambitions are reflected in his intention to publish in the prestigious three-volume format established by Scott’s Waverley series. As one seasoned commentator forewarned, however, “Mr Charles Dickens is not yet Sir Walter Scott” (Weekly News, 1837). Following a prolonged period of gestation and multiple disagreements with publishers, “Gabriel Varden” …

Citation: Mackenney, Francesca. "Barnaby Rudge". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 June 2020 [, accessed 17 May 2021.]

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