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Date archive for: April 2017

Meet the Author: Joel J. Brattin

Posted in In and Around the Library

Gordon Library’s 2016-2017 Meet the Author series concludes on Tuesday, April 11 with Joel J. Brattin’s Dickens and Massachusetts: The Lasting Legacy of the Commonwealth Visits. Please join us at 4:00 pm in the FLIP space on the 3rd floor of the library to hear Professor Brattin discuss this fascinating contribution to the study of Charles Dickens.

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Time: 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Location: Gordon Library, FLIP Space, 3rd floor

The presentation will include a Q&A session, followed by an informal reception with light refreshments. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. The Curation, Preservation, and Archives Department will have a Charles Dickens display on view in the FLIP Space.


About the Author


Professor Joel J. Brattin, a past president of the Dickens Society, teaches literature at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He has contributed to important books on Jane Austen, Thomas Carlyle, George Eliot, and Jimi Hendrix, and has published on such writers as Gissing, Thackeray, Emerson, and Nabokov, but he has devoted his closest scholarly attention to the works of the great Victorian novelist Charles Dickens. His first book on Dickens was an annotated bibliography of Our Mutual Friend; he subsequently edited Our Mutual Friend for the Everyman Dickens series, and more recently he edited Great Expectations for Charles Winthrope and Sons. He contributed a chapter on Bleak House to a recent volume considering Charles Dickens as an Agent of Change, and (with Diana Archibald) he edited Dickens and Massachusetts: The Lasting Legacy of the Commonwealth Visits, for which he received a Faculty Achievement award earlier this year.  His next book project will be a scholarly edition of Dickens’s third novel, Nicholas Nickleby, for the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Charles Dickens (Oxford University Press, with Elizabeth James).


About the Book

Dickens and Massachusetts cover

University of Massachusetts Press

Charles Dickens traveled to North America twice. While many aspects of his travels in the United States disappointed him, Massachusetts met and even exceeded Dickens’s expectations for “the republic of [his] imagination.” The essays in Dickens and Massachusetts tell the story of Dickens’s relationship with this vibrant cultural, intellectual hub and demonstrate that Dickens’s time in Massachusetts is more significant than previously recognized. From the mills of Lowell and the Perkins School for the Blind he gained a vision of society that influenced his writings, and the deep friendships Dickens formed with Bostonians gave him lasting ties to the Commonwealth. The volume features abundant pictures as well as the complete narrative from the award-winning public exhibition Dickens and Massachusetts: A Tale of Power and Transformation, which attracted thousands of visitors when on display in Lowell.

Dickens and Massachusetts provides insight from leading scholars who have begun to reassess the significance of Massachusetts in the author’s life and work. The book talk at Gordon Library will focus on Professor Brattin’s chapter “Slavery in Dickens’s Manuscript of American Notes for General Circulation.” In that chapter, Professor Brattin looks at the ways Dickens’s manuscript of his travel book about the USA sheds light on his attitude toward slavery.

Dickens and Massachusetts is available at Gordon Library in print and as an e-book.