Length of Recording: 0:46:30. Recorded by Henry Rosen, director of the Audiovisual Department, Bridgewater State Teachers College
While a professor, Clement C. Maxwell specialized in English literature and was a noted Dickens scholar. Maxwell’s lecture on Dickens covers what he identifies as the major theme throughout the writer’s work: “to strike a blow for the poor” by drawing attention to the dire conditions of the underprivileged during the Victorian age. Maxwell describes Dickens childhood and how that shaped his mission to improve the living conditions of London’s underclasses. The lecture draws upon examples from several of Dicken’s novels to illustrate the horrors of debtors’ prisons, the unfairness in the court system, and the sub-standard quality of education in England in his day. Despite the bleak depictions of life in London, Dickens’ sense of humor and optimism is emphasized. Maxwell also notes Dickens’ inclusion of children as frequent and often major characters in his novels. Maxwell credits the inclusion of children as characters to the development of increased sympathy for children and children’s rights.
Maxwell, Clement C., "Some Thoughts on Dickens" (1958). Multi-media Selections for the Archives. 1.
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