Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge

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Francesca Mackenney (University of Bristol)

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” …

3586 words

Citation: Mackenney, Francesca. "Barnaby Rudge". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 June 2020 [, accessed 07 February 2023.]

6448 Barnaby Rudge 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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