Monday, July 05, 2021

"Instant recollections" in Charles Dickens's "Martin Chuzzlewit" – and anachronistic associations

When Tom Pinch goes to Salisbury in Charles Dickens's "Martin Chuzzlewit", he loves the bookshops, "whence a pleasant smell of paper freshly pressed came issuing forth". That smell generates "instant recollections of some new grammar had at school, long time ago, with 'Master Pinch, Grove House Academy,’ inscribed in faultless writing on the fly–leaf!" Two anachronistic "instant recollections" then arise for me: the figure of sensation triggering memory recalls Marcel Proust's madeleine in "Du côté de chez Swann", and Tom's memory of writing his name on the flyleaf echoes Stephen Dedalus doing the same, though at greater length, in James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 5 July 2021)

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