Sunday, February 26, 2023

The only reference to photography in a novel by Charles Dickens: In “Great Expectations” (1861)

The opening lines of Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations" (1861) find Pip forced to imagine what his parents might have looked like, since no pictures of them exist: "[...] I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs) [...]." In part because I noticed a reference to a "machine for taking likenesses" in Dickens's "Oliver Twist" (1838), which I noted could not have been a photographic camera, it struck me that this is the first reference to photographs in Dickens's novels – and apparently the only one, according to my search of a Dickens concordance. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 26 February 2023)

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