Martin Chuzzlewit /

Main Author: Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
Other Authors: Cardwell, Margaret.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Oxford : New York : Clarendon ; 1982.
Series: The Clarendon Dickens
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Review by Choice Review

An unusual entry in a series that already includes such warhorses as Ulysses, Paradise Lost, the Iliad, and the Canterbury Tales. But Martin Chuzzlewit has a well-deserved reputation as one of Dickens's lesser works and Monod does little to dispel the reader's repugnance, however slight. One starts with admiration for a critic who has ``studied Dickens for several decades''; here we see the thoroughness and sensitivity that we are accustomed to find in his writings, as he works through the main facets of Martin Chuzzlewit. Chapter by chapter he handles such matters as the text, the machinery, the American episodes, Mrs. Gamp, crime and punishment, the pinches, and style and method. Monod is not completely admiring; he says that the hero never comes alive, he finds the figure of old Martin sadistic, and he is not satisfied with Jonas and the crime plot. Along the way, Monod quotes other critics and scholars, but one can hardly conclude that this is either a thorough, or balanced, presentation. This book is less satisfying than the comparable Norton Critical edition, which brings in whole critical commentaries from different years. The intended audience for the present book is not defined.-L.J. Clipper, Indiana University at South Bend

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.