Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The Non-World: Inaccessibility and Law in Charles Dickens' Bleak House
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The representation of Chancery court in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House (1852-3) emphasises the inaccessibility of this institution to members of the laity. Dickens’ critique of Chancery chimes with Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological description of law as a formalistic social field defined by practices of exclusion. Dickens’ Chancery is however further inaccessible since it departs from Dickens’ laypeople’s horizons of expectation as a bureaucratic organisation characterised by its structural dispersion and the generation of great quantities of writing. This thesis therefore scrutinises Dickens’ treatment of Chancery in light of media-theoretical and geocritical, as well as sociological, frameworks and perspectives.

This essay demonstrates that Dickens’ account of the institution of Chancery as conceptually inaccessible amounts to what I term a non-world heuristic. I contend that Dickens’ take on law anticipates what Fredric Jameson famously theorises as the dizzying “global world system” of late capitalism; the non-world heuristic of Bleak House—which combats disorientation in the social domain of law—may thus be understood as an early example of what Jameson terms an “aesthetic of cognitive mapping.” The non-world heuristic, this thesis proposes, likely has a role to play also in fictional attempts to cognitively map the global world system. I theorise the non-world heuristic in light of the discourse on accessibility in possible-worlds theory and the Kantian sublime, finding that the sublime non-world of Chancery is made accessible as inaccessible and that this dynamic is integral to Dickens’ aesthetic both as a maker of cognitive maps and as a realist novelist. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , p. 60
Keyword [en]
Charles Dickens; Bleak House; non-world; Chancery; law; Pierre Bourdieu; Fredric Jameson; cognitive mapping; space; time; geocriticism; possible-worlds theory; the sublime.
National Category
Humanities Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126573OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-126573DiVA, id: diva2:901318
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2016-12-20 Created: 2016-02-07 Last updated: 2016-12-20Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(551 kB)65 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 551 kBChecksum SHA-512
dbda229b572fb463478bdf756ccd9e544c2f7ff50845f3452076380c9496a98463cfa4ef5e5e9e6fb95a579452fa7a5ee34be7213989e1f322ebe605c318766b
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

By organisation
Department of English
HumanitiesHumanities

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 65 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 123 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf