Dickens in Byron's Chair: Authenticity, Author Portraits, and Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture

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    This essay begins with the illustration to 'Public Dinners', by George Cruikshank, from Charles Dickens's Sketches by Boz (1836). It uses this image to argue that early nineteenth-century visual Byronism, together with the Cruikshanks and Pierce Egan in Life in London (1820-1), provided successful examples of a visual iconography of authorship and the creation of a public persona which the young Dickens drew upon to create his own, and which raised questions about authenticity which are pertinent to Sketches by Boz. I demonstrate that Dickens’s own authorial strategies have their antecedents in imagery drawn from popular canonical and non-canonical texts of the early nineteenth-century. My aim is to show the continuities and the contrasts between early and later 19th-century representations of celebrity authorship, with a particular focus on the writer's body and the writer's chair.

    © 2018, Cambridge University Press. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Victorian Literature and Culture uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-81
    Issue number1
    Early online date26 Mar 2018
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Mar 2018

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