Arab Today, arab today did charles dickens really save poor children
Last Updated : GMT 09:08:20
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Did Charles Dickens really save poor children

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Did Charles Dickens really save poor children

London - BBC

From the orphan begging for more in Oliver Twist to the heartless Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens highlighted poverty and squalor. But did he really help change things? It\'s an adjective that still echoes down the ages. Need to emphasise the filth and squalor of a rundown housing estate or prison? It\'s Dickensian. Children\'s trust abused or criminal underclass exposed? Invoke Oliver Twist and Fagin. The law is an ass? No need to reach for the dictionary, Dickens has it covered. His books have not been out of print since the 1830s and his characters and causes continue to live large in contemporary imaginations. If you assumed Dickens\'s effect on reform matched his renown, you might imagine he single-handedly dragged Victorian Britain up by its bootstraps. But - perhaps surprisingly to the layman - the generally accepted view from historians is that while Dickens\'s was a mighty voice, he did not influence social reform as much as he is widely assumed to have done. \"Although in his journalism and novels he attacked specific targets - Poor Law legislation in Oliver Twist, the brutal Yorkshire schools in Nicholas Nickleby, the law [Pickwick Papers and Bleak House], government bureaucracy, lethargy and nepotism in Little Dorrit, extremist utilitarianism in Hard Times - it\'s hard to trace any direct consequences on reformist legislation in any of those areas to Dickens\'s influence,\" argues Prof Malcolm Andrews, editor of the Dickensian, journal of the Dickens Fellowship. Charles Dickens was born in 1812 into a volatile period often referred to as the Age of Reform, where industrialisation was rapidly reshaping Britain, and legislators were - more than ever - struggling to adapt to the demands of a changing population. He was born in the era of the stagecoach, but when he died in 1870 had witnessed the birth of the railways, the telegraph and the steamship. During that time the population of London alone had exploded from one million, to three times that figure, with all its attendant social ills. Dr Heather Shore, a social history expert at Leeds Metropolitan University, describes the period of the 1830s and 1840s as one in which a great deal of \"big society\"-type activity was undertaken. During those years a raft of legislation governing everything from child labour, working conditions in factories, the treatment of the poor, to public health and sanitation was passed. From 1831-32, Dickens was a reporter for the Mirror of Parliament - an early Hansard competitor - and witnessed much of the national debate that led to the Great Reform Act of 1832, which is said to have opened the door to modern democracy. A few years later he burst onto the literary scene - first with The Pickwick Papers (1836) but then with Oliver Twist (1837) where his attack on the workhouse system and realistic portrayal of a criminal underclass \"captured the zeitgeist\", Dr Shore says. \"You\'ve already got a debate going on about juvenile crime, you\'ve already got quite a lot of reform happening on the ground and attempts to establish a juvenile justice system - but all of a sudden he moves the debate on because now people, when they want to talk about criminal children they can think about the Artful Dodger - they know who these children are through Dickens\'s fiction.\" Oliver Twist also highlights the rank poverty of the inner cities - particularly when the plot moves to Jacob\'s Island, \"the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London\" where the houses were \"so filthy, so confined, that the air would seem to be too tainted even for the dirt and squalor\". There was uproar when it emerged this was not mere fiction, but a dismal place that actually existed on the south bank of the Thames. Hugh Cunningham, professor of social history at the University of Kent, argues that while Dickens \"helped create a climate of opinion\", he did not articulate a \"coherent doctrine\" of how society should be reformed - and that the author was at times as much in danger of being seen as a conservative as a radical. With Hard Times (1854) - a critique of the political theory of utilitarianism which holds that the proper course of action is the one that seeks the greatest good for the greatest number of people - Dickens set himself against thinkers like Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Malthus and Adam Smith and their efforts to change government policy. Likewise, argues Cunningham, Dickens shared the Victorian establishment\'s fear of the mob - publishing Barnaby Rudge (1840) as a critique of mob action. The author had no sympathy for the working class Chartist labour movement and he was certainly no trade unionist. He favoured \"strong prison discipline for those who broke the law\". His contribution to the education debate was less on the role of the state and more on \"the way in which the ethos of a school and the quality of teaching could make or mar a child\". \"[He was] certainly alive to the issues posed by child labour in the new work situation of the industrial revolution, but it is striking that none of his child heroes or victims was directly involved in such work,\" Prof Cunningham suggests. Dickens may not have had an overarching vision of how to reform society, but he was a philanthropist, spending more than a decade on a project to help destitute girls and young women in mid-19th Century London. Supported by the banking heiress Angela Burdett Coutts, he established Urania Cottage - a safe house for young women in Shepherd\'s Bush where they were taken from lives of prostitution and crime and trained for useful employment. Dickens\'s brother-in-law was one of the founders of the Health of Towns Association, and in his journalism Dickens argued passionately for the reform of housing and sanitation of the poor. His own schooling was interrupted by his family\'s financial plight, and he saw education as a vital ingredient in the fight against crime, vociferously supporting the Ragged Schools - charitable institutions set up to educate destitute children. A Christmas Carol began - says Andrews - with Dickens\'s idea of issuing a pamphlet in response to horrific accounts of child labour in mines and factories. But he put that aside in favour of a Christmas story, \"a fable to highlight the callous indifference of the rich towards what should be their social responsibilities - the idea that we are all one family and should care for others\", says Andrews. Lord Jeffrey, austere editor of the Edinburgh Review, is typical of the powerful response people had to the work. He wrote: \"Blessings on your kind heart... you may be sure you have done more good by this little publication, fostered more kindly feelings, and prompted more positive acts of beneficence, than can be traced to all the pulpits and confessionals in Christendom.\" \"That,\" suggests Andrews, \"is the measure of Dickens\'s appeal to the heart for the cause he stood for.\" It is a sentiment too that reverberates today. Amid celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Dickens\'s birth, the actor Simon Callow wrote of him this week: \"The reason I love him so deeply is that, having experienced the lower depths, he never ceased, till the day he died, to commit himself, both in his work and in his life, to trying to right the wrongs inflicted by society, above all, perhaps by giving the dispossessed a voice. \"From the moment he started to write, he spoke for the people, and the people loved him for it, as do I.\" Additional reporting by Lauren Everitt

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today did charles dickens really save poor children Arab Today, arab today did charles dickens really save poor children

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today did charles dickens really save poor children Arab Today, arab today did charles dickens really save poor children

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation
Arab Today, arab today Italy regions back 'big bang' autonomy

GMT 07:10 2017 Monday ,23 October

Italy regions back 'big bang' autonomy
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today Iraq's Barzani isolated by his drive

GMT 04:36 2017 Tuesday ,24 October

Iraq's Barzani isolated by his drive
Arab Today, arab today Maltese demand justice for murdered

GMT 06:08 2017 Monday ,23 October

Maltese demand justice for murdered
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today World's deepest lake in peril

GMT 15:54 2017 Friday ,20 October

World's deepest lake in peril
Arab Today, arab today Ex-French minister Dati wants tough action

GMT 10:54 2017 Thursday ,19 October

Ex-French minister Dati wants tough action
Arab Today, arab today Lost Australia diver swam miles

GMT 19:09 2017 Monday ,23 October

Lost Australia diver swam miles
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today EU targets German carmakers

GMT 05:41 2017 Tuesday ,24 October

EU targets German carmakers
Arab Today, arab today Tesla to build wholly-owned plant

GMT 07:55 2017 Monday ,23 October

Tesla to build wholly-owned plant
Arab Today, arab today Sherine Reda frustrated of latest terrorist attacks

GMT 09:03 2017 Monday ,23 October

Sherine Reda frustrated of latest terrorist attacks
Arab Today, arab today Delhi braces for pollution 'airpocalypse'

GMT 16:07 2017 Friday ,20 October

Delhi braces for pollution 'airpocalypse'

GMT 08:12 2017 Saturday ,21 October

Donia Abdel Aziz aspires to return to cinema

GMT 18:15 2017 Monday ,16 October

British actress becomes fifth woman

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 19:09 2017 Thursday ,19 October

Massacre fears spark race

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 06:07 2017 Sunday ,22 October

15,000 Under Fives Die

GMT 12:54 2017 Saturday ,21 October

Malaysia Airlines picks new CEO

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 08:06 2017 Tuesday ,24 October

Second Palestinian mobile provider enters Gaza

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday