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'Wot Larx!' William Morris, Charles Dickens and Fatherly Feelings

Parkins, Wendy J. (2012) 'Wot Larx!' William Morris, Charles Dickens and Fatherly Feelings. 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 14 (1). p. 1. ISSN 0742-5473. (doi:10.16995/ntn.606) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://doi.org/10.16995/ntn.606

Abstract

This essay explores the significance of William Morris’s reading of Dickens for Morris’s articulation of fatherly feelings. Recent scholarship on Victorian fatherhood has begun to overturn the stereotype of the dour, emotionally distant paterfamilias as providing only a partial understanding of forms of middle-class fatherhood and William Morris may serve as an example of a Victorian father whose parenting style eschewed detached authoritarianism, and instead combined nurture, play, and creativity. While Morris referred to Dickens’s works and characters in letters to a range of correspondents, his repeated usage of Joe Gargery’s catchphrase ‘Wot larx!’ (variously spelled) occurs exclusively in letters to his wife and daughters, especially the latter. I will consider how the character of Joe Gargery, who combines nurturing tenderness with manly labour, was deployed by Morris to perform a playful and affectionate paternal persona. While Morris’s use of Joe’s catchphrase seems to express a spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling its status as a quotation also works to mark (and mask) a disavowal of powerfully ambivalent feelings concerning his own emotional agency as husband and father.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.16995/ntn.606
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 12:29 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/40697 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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