Double the Dickens: Counterparts and Multiples in the Works

deadline for submissions: 
April 5, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
The Dickens Society/MMLA
contact email: 

Charles Dickens utilizes various devices facilitating comparison and comprehension throughout many of his novels, short stories, and other literary output. Most famously, Dickens employed doubling and doppelgängers in A Tale of Two Cities (1859) to demonstrate the ideological similarities and differences between not only look-alikes Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton, but the cities of London and Paris. In Uneven Developments (1988), Mary Poovey has revealed how in David Copperfield (1850), the hero’s instinctive dislike for Uriah Heep’s mock humility may indicate his own discomfort regarding their similar financial positions and goals for career advancement. Lookalikes and rivals abound in Our Mutual Friend (1865), Dickens’s last completed novel of social transformation and boundless wealth, not limited to the lookalikes John Harmon and George Radfoot and romantic/class opponents Eugene Wrayburn and Bradley Headstone.

To explore how and why Dickens’s writing invites such contrasts, the Dickens Society requests papers considering any aspect of duality, doubling, doppelgängers, fetches, the self and other, and rivalries, as appearing in either Dickens’s works or regarding the author’s own identity and history.

Please submit a 250-word abstract and a 1-page CV to Lydia Craig at by 5 April 2019. The MMLA Conference theme this year is "Duality, Doubles and Doppelgängers"; the conference will take place in Chicago, IL from 14-17 November 2019.