This chapter examines Dickens’s use of shorthand as a law reporter at Doctors Commons, in the Gallery of Parliament and as a journalist. It describes the culture of reporting in each environment (section 5.1), particularly the notions of ‘faithful’ and ‘verbatim’ reporting (section 5.2). It also draws on Dickens’s Jarman v Bagster manuscript and a Mirror of Parliament report to assess his accuracy as a reporter (section 5.3). The chapter then addresses Dickens’s role as a court reporter in relation to his fiction. Drawing on Levinson’s ‘participation roles’ and Goffman’s ‘production format’, section 5.4 argues that the practice of shorthand reporting enabled Dickens to transcribe the words of unseen witnesses, plaintiffs, and defendants into the fictional words of unseen characters by developing his technical skill in reporting speech and his ability to manipulate ‘voicing’ to control readers’ vocalizations of his fictional work, particularly through variations in phonetic speech.
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