John O. Jordan
(University of California, Santa Cruz)
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Intended as a case study in the globalization of literary studies and as part of an effort to help launch the Global Circulation Project under the auspices of Literature Compass, the present essay takes the writings of Charles Dickens as its focus. The essay has three primary goals. First, it recounts the story of Professor Ada B. Nisbet’s attempt between the mid-1960s and 1984 to compile and publish an international bibliography of Dickens, one that would examine and analyze the circulation of Dickens’s writings not only within Anglo-American literary culture but also in the rest of the world. The essay traces the history of this ambitious project, analyzes the reasons it was never completed, and describes the archive that Professor Nisbet left behind. Second, the essay provides a report, necessarily incomplete, of work published since 1984 and work-in-progress that deals with the global circulation of Dickens’s writings. Finally, “Global Dickens” issues an invitation to scholars from around the world to contribute to an ongoing dialogue about the reception and significance of Dickens outside Britain, Europe, and North America.
This article originally appeared in Literature Compass