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Suspenseful Speculation and the Pleasure of Waiting in Little Dorrit

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jacob Jewusiak


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This article argues that the language used to describe financial speculation in the nineteenth century overlapped with the moral charge of novelistic temporality: the repeated injunction against “getting rich quick” was countered by the way suspense encouraged racing or skipping through a novel to reach the end. Charles Dickens’s novel Little Dorrit (1855-57) experiments with mitigating the affect that encourages acceleration, resulting in a narrative temporality I define as “waiting.” Outside of the frenzy of finance capital, however, waiting is both a refuge and a prison, a place where character is stable and yet uninteresting, static, and a bit rotten.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jewusiak J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Victorian Literature and Culture

Year: 2016

Volume: 44

Issue: 2

Pages: 279-296

Print publication date: 01/06/2016

Online publication date: 10/05/2016

Acceptance date: 01/01/2014

ISSN (print): 1060-1503

ISSN (electronic): 1470-1553

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1060150315000625


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