chapter  3
34 Pages

David Copperfield

This chapter explains David Copperfield, Forster suggests that the dizzy heights to which Dickens's reputation soared with the novel were in no small measure due to the encoded personal matter the text dramatized. Undoubtedly the odour of mortality pervades David Copperfield and must have hung heavily about Dickens's failed attempt to write his autobiography. David Copperfield's attempt to recapture childhood in the face of death is part of a long artistic tradition in Western culture of regarding the child as an emblem of mortality. Charles Dickens seems to apprehend the full truth of this during the writing of David Copperfield, for in foreshadowing David's approaching demise, he shares with his public his own eventual end. Dickens's 'staging of language' in David Copperfield is an elaborate game of denial in which maternal absence is repeatedly deflected through the body of words that comprise the text.