Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness
Attitudes toward punishment and forgiveness in English society of the nineteenth century came, for the most part, out of Christianity. In actual experience the ideal was not often met, but in the literature of the time the model was important. For novelists attempting to tell exciting and dramatic stories, violent and criminal activities played an important role, and, according to convention, had to be corrected through poetic justice or human punishment. Both Dickens' and Thackeray's novels subscribed to the ideal, but dealt with the dilemma it presented in slightly different ways.
At a time when a great deal of attention has been directed toward economic production and consumption as the bases for value, Reed's well-documented study reviving moral belief as a legitimate concern for the analysis of nineteenth-century English texts is particularly illuminating.
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Subsequent references appear in the text . 3 . H . L . A . Hart , Punishment and
Responsibility : Essays in the Philosophy of Law ( New York : Oxford University
Press , 1968 ) , 200ff . 4 . Sir Walter Moberly , The Ethics of Punishment ( Hamden
Subsequent references in the text . 7 . W . R . Greg , The Creed of Christendom :
Its Foundations Contrasted with Its Superstructure ( Toronto : Rose - Belford
Publishing Co . , 1878 ( Originally published 1852 ) , 368 and 373 ) . Subsequent
Subsequent references appear in the text . 2 . Daniel Defoe , Moll Flanders , ed .
Edward Kelly ( New York : W . W . Norton and Company , 1973 ) , 4 . Subsequent
references appear in the text . 3 . Henry Fielding , Joseph Andrews with ...
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Attitudes Toward Punishment and Forgiveness
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