The Victorian reading marketplaceDickens’s serials and the common reader

  1. Khaski Gaglia, Camila
Supervised by:
  1. Gustavo Sánchez Canales Director
  2. Asunción López-Varela Azcárate Director

Defence university: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Fecha de defensa: 10 May 2022

  1. Laura Torres Zúñiga Chair
  2. Sanja Brekalo Pelin Secretary
  3. Isabel Morales Jareño Committee member
  4. Jose Luis Miras Orozco Committee member
  5. Xiana Sotelo Committee member

Type: Thesis


This thesis mainly focuses on Charles Dickens's The Pickwick Papers as a case in point to depict the revolution created by its success. Before the serialisation of this novel, mass readership was unknown for publishers and authors, and reading was conceived as a luxury for a few. Dickens’s and his serials dramatically changed how literature was created and for whom it was created once publishers saw the immense list of benefits. The present doctoral thesis is divided into three parts. The first part addresses the 19th-century's social-economic context and the non-literary elements that contributed to the proliferation of the serial. The focus is to display how literature stops being a 'commodity'; becoming a pattern that 'encodes within itself its own ideology of how by whom and for whom it was produced' (Feltes 1986: 3).The second section of the thesis delves into Victorian literary fads and genres. The primary purpose throughout this part is to pinpoint the elements in Dickens's creative process that created an impact on how fiction was seen and consumed. Finally, the third section caters to the reader and its active participation in the creative process of the serial. When organising his writing, Dickens used to foresee the elements in advance, yet the versatility of this prolonged process allowed him to incorporate to his work external feedback. In addition, this last part of the thesis explores the formulaic pattern of the serial and analyses its dialogical nature. Thanks to a contrastive observation of serial reading, one of the significant conclusions of my study is how much the publication format influences how the text is read, interpreted and enjoyed. As an alternative to the traditional approach to reception theories than categorise the 'ideal', 'naive' or 'informed' reader, this research focuses on the common reader and how it fills the texts indeterminacies with its own experience