This paper sets out from an overnight walk that Pip takes from Miss Havisham's house to his lodgings in London and proceeds by reconstructing Dickens's compulsive habit of walking at night. It explores aspects of the meaning of the city at night for Dickens and goes on to examine his essay 'Nightwalks' and the political as well as psychological implications of the understanding of 'houselessness' it evinces.
Who this event is for
Everyone. The event is free but there are limited numbers.
The Picture Gallery, Founders Building, Royal Holloway, University of London Egham Campus.
The Picture gallery is a stunning venue as well as an irreplaceable object of study in its own right it houses a world-famous collection of Victorian art. On the day Queen Victoria came to open the College she wrote in her diary that ‘Royal Holloway had fine specimens of modern art’. Of particular note to this talk is Applicants for Admission to a Casual Ward, by Luke Fildes. This grim scene shows people queuing outside a police station on a cold London night for a ticket to admit them to the casual ward of the workhouse. The original engraving was seen by John Everett Millais who brought it to the attention of Charles Dickens. Dickens was so impressed he immediately commisioned Fildes to illustrate The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Walking in the Dead of Night: Dickens Nocturnal London
About the speaker
PROFESSOR MATTHEW BEAUMONT
Matthew Beaumont studied English at LMH, Oxford, before doing an MSt and DPhil at Linacre College, Oxford. He was a Research Fellow at Keble College, Oxford, and a Teaching Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, before becoming a lecturer at UCL in 2005, and a Senior Lecturer in 2008. He became a Co-Director of UCL's Urban Lab, where he is responsible for the Cities Imaginaries strand, in 2013.