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Queer DickensErotics, Families, Masculinities$
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Holly Furneaux

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199566099

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566099.001.0001

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Introduction Telling it Straight: Dickens in a Queer Context

Introduction Telling it Straight: Dickens in a Queer Context

(p.1) Introduction Telling it Straight: Dickens in a Queer Context
Queer Dickens

Holly Furneaux (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter begins with a description of the case of James Pratt and John Smith, who were convicted under a sodomy law only fully repealed in England in 1967. It then outlines main objective of the book, which argues that Dickens's early sympathy with Pratt and Smith was to develop into a career long dedication to the positive representation of same-sex desire and other non-heterosexual life choices. The book contributes to the ongoing revision of conceptions about Dickens and his age (neither so prudish or punitive as we once imagined), arguing that this eminent Victorian can direct us to the ways in which his culture could, and did, comfortably accommodate homoeroticism and forms of family founded on neither marriage nor blood. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.

Keywords:   Charles Dickens, James Pratt, John Smith, same-sex desire, homoeroticism

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