Charles Dickens’s Idealized Portraits: Rewriting the child in <i>Oliver Twist</i> and <i>The Old Curiosity Shop</i>.

  • Jack Tan University of Melbourne


In Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop, Dickens is preoccupied with representing the key protagonists as neglected and isolated figures. He repeatedly sets them apart from their surroundings, showing them to be too vulnerable and idealized to belong to their real environments. In Dickens’s depictions of these susceptible characters, he is autobiographically evoking his memories of his “not-over-particularly-taken-care-of” childhood self. Yet, in memorializing and valorizing these characters, he bestows upon them a new lease of life within their fictional portraits.

Author Biography

Jack Tan, University of Melbourne
Jack Tan is Dean of Studies at Whitley College at the University of Melbourne. He is completing a research degree on the imaginative representation of nostalgia in the novels of Charles Dickens.
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