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Dickens: David Copperfield

3. Autobiography

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Dickens’ interest in autobiography, looking in particular at three characters who try, but fail, to write about themselves: Mr Dick, Peggotty, and George Silverman from Dickens’ short story ‘George Silverman’s Explanation’ (1868)


In this course, Dr Alfie Bown (University of Manchester) explores Dickens’ 1849-50 novel David Copperfield. After a brief introduction that sets the novel in its historical context, we turn to some of the major themes of the novel, including how Dickens thinks about the linearity of narrative (does he know what’s going to happen or not?), his interest in autobiography, the use of comedy in the novel, his interest in the physicality of writing, and the use of character and characterisation in the novel, looking in particular at Steerforth.


Alfie Bown is Lecturer in Digital Media Culture and Technology at Royal Holloway, University of London. His principle research interests are in psychoanalysis, digital media, critical theory and videogames, though he has also published in nineteenth-century studies, film studies and medieval studies. He is author of The Playstation Dreamworld (2017) and In the Event of Laughter (2018) among other things. His most recent book is an edited collection of essays entitled Post-Memes: Seizing the Memes of Production (2019).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Bown, A. (2018, August 15). Dickens: David Copperfield - Autobiography [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Bown, A. "Dickens: David Copperfield – Autobiography." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,