From Library Journal
Magnet contends that the four early works ( Nicholas Nickleby, Barnaby Rudge, American Notes, Martin Chuzzlewit ) discussed here seek to define ``Dickens's understanding of the nature and function of society itself, of civilization considered as a general condition. . . .'' Aggression is the topic of Nickleby, with society in various manifestations as its antidote; the later Chuzzlewit takes as its theme the whole issue of ``human nature.'' Thus, these works differ from the more particular late masterpieces. Because the whole Dickens opus is concerned intimately with definitions of social abstractionsparticularity in the late novels being perhaps an added assetthe value of this book lies more in its close thematical analysis of these relatively neglected early texts than in its general claim. Primarily for academic collections. Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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About the Author
is the editor of City Journal
, the Manhattan Institutes quarterly magazine of urban affairs, and a former member of Fortune
magazines board of editors. His work as a writer has covered a wide range of topics, including American society and social policy, economics, corporate management, intellectual history, and literature. His 1999 book The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties Legacy to the Underclass
has been called by President Bush the most important book he has ever read, save the Bible.
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