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Serial FormsThe Unfinished Project of Modernity, 1815-1848$
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Clare Pettitt

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830429.001.0001

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Pugin, Carlyle, Dickens

(p.177) 5 Scalar
Serial Forms

Clare Pettitt

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5, ‘Scalar: Pugin, Carlyle, Dickens’, is about scale. It looks in detail at three writers in London who produced very different versions of the ‘modern’ in the late 1830s and early 1840s, but all of whom realized that something very big indeed was happening around them. Across different genres, Augustus Welby Pugin, Thomas Carlyle, and Charles Dickens all chose to represent democracy and reform specifically as a problem of scale. This chapter investigates their understanding of the seriality and scalability of market capitalism and the anxieties and opportunities that this revealed to them. Each took a different view, from Carlyle’s apocalyptic denunciation of a massification which soars vertiginously between the gigantic and the tiny; to Pugin’s insistence on a built and material ethics of the human scale; and Dickens’s cautious optimism about this moment of scalar derangement and the redistribution of the sensible.

Keywords:   Pugin, Carlyle, Dickens, Scale, Advertising, Contrasts, Past and Present, Sketches by Boz, Historicism, Media

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