ONLINE CLASS: Dickens’s Dark Masterpiece: Our Mutual Friend (2134) - Sold Out

Seven Tuesdays: April 20, 27, May, 4, 11, 18, 25, June 1, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

$180 (10% off for members)

“On Friday the ninth of June in the present year Mr. and Mrs. Boffin (in their manuscript dress of receiving Mr. and Mrs. Lammle at breakfast) were on the South Eastern Railway with me, in a terribly destructive accident.  When I had done what I could to help others, I climbed back into my carriage—nearly turned over a viaduct, and caught aslant upon the turn—to extricate the worthy couple.  They were much soiled, but otherwise unhurt.  The same happy result attended Miss Bella Wilfer on her wedding-day, and Mr Riderhood inspecting Bradley Headstone’s red neckerchief as he lay asleep.  I remember with devout thankfulness that I can never be much nearer parting company with my readers for ever, than I was then, until there shall be written against my life the two words with which I have this day closed this book—THE END.” Postscript in lieu of a Preface, Charles Dickens on the rescuing of the manuscript Our Mutual Friend following the Staplehurst railway accident in 1865.

Our Mutual Friend is the late great novel of an author famed for his mid-century masterpieces. Set in Victorian London, within a chiaroscuro of legal worlds, underworlds, servant worlds, the glittering microcosms of the nouveau riche, and the disintegrating realms of the aristocracy, comedy and tragedy jostle each other, and harmony and second chances win out by a hair. In this class, we will scrutinize the dark themes which Dickens explored after separating from his wife, sequestering with actress Ellen Ternan and confronting death at Staplehurst. The psychology of the criminal mind, the violence of obsession, and the failures of sanitation reform all weighed heavily on the middle-aged author. We will also discuss doubles, hidden identities, the roles of education, technology, parliament, politics and Empire, all rife in a novel which insists upon the resilience of friendship and the power of love to unlock the stern gates of class. 

Please join us for a seven-week meander through Dickens's Cimmerian mid-century London. Seven Tuesdays: April 20, 27, May, 4, 11, 18, 25, June 1, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Required Text:

Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens (9780140434972) Penguin edition with notes by Adrian Poole

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

Our Mutual Friend Cover Image
By Charles Dickens, Adrian Poole (Introduction by), Adrian Poole (Notes by)
ISBN: 9780140434972
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Classics - February 1st, 1998