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12. Stave 3 – Ignorance and Want
About this Lecture
In this module, we read the final part of Stave Three as Scrooge sees his nephew and his wife, as well as the figures of Ignorance and Want, focusing in particular on: (i) the absurdist theme of laughter in the face of the “unknown abyss”, provided in this case by Scrooge’s nephew; (ii) the philosophy of utilitarianism and the pointlessness of not doing anything with your money; (iii) Scrooge’s continuing transformation as Fred toasts him in his absence (“Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of heart”); and (iv) the figures of Ignorance and Want.
In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In the first module, we introduce the novel by looking at the first two paragraphs of the story, including its famous opening line (“Marley was dead; to begin with”) and the reader’s first impression of the character of Scrooge (“Scrooge's name was good on ‘Change”). In the second and third modules, we go through some of the literary, cultural and historical context for the novel, including Dickens’ life and career up to 1843, the impact of the Industrial Revolution on British society and culture, the ‘invention’ of the ‘traditional, family Christmas’ in this period, and Dickens’ preoccupation with capitalism, poverty and children. In the following twelve modules, we read through the novel stave by stave: the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh modules cover Stave One; the eighth and ninth cover Stave Two; the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth cover Stave Three; the thirteen and fourteenth cover Stave Four; and the fifteenth covers Stave Five.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
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Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2020, March 24). Dickens: A Christmas Carol - Stave 3 – Ignorance and Want [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/dickens-a-christmas-carol-mcrae/stave-3-ignorance-and-want
McRae, John. "Dickens: A Christmas Carol – Stave 3 – Ignorance and Want." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Mar 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/dickens-a-christmas-carol-mcrae/stave-3-ignorance-and-want