Reading David Copperfield

Resource Handbook for Teaching and Study


Part I: Context (126 pages)

In this first section, articles that put David Copperfield in the context of Victorian culture are arranged in roughly the order readers encounter the topics in the novel. Some of the situations David finds himself in may be puzzling to modern readers; these articles are meant to deepen the reader’s understanding and interpretation of David’s story.

Part II: Interpretation (76 pages)

This second section introduces a variety of approaches and styles of interpretation of David Copperfield. Two writers specifically address the novel as teachers. In answer to those who complain of the novel’s length and verbosity, a section of Robert Graves’ The Real David Copperfield, is included.

Part III: David Copperfield Beyond the Written Word (66 pages)

Illustration, film, theatre, and other creative media add to the overall impression left upon readers of David Copperfield. This section contains discussions of the illustrations in the original edition of the novel and a description of the production of the 1934 Hollywood movie. Two scripts are included: one accompanies the slides of Dickens’ legal London, the other follows the performance by the Dickens Players on video and audio tape.

Part IV: Activities and Projects for Students (66 pages)

This section, of special interest to teachers of David Copperfield, is further divided into five parts, notes on the bottom of each page. The lesson plans in “Overview” approach the teaching of the novel as a whole, which may assist the instructor daunted by the novel’s length. Assignments in “Pre-reading” introduce student to Victorian culture and the autobiographical elements of David’s life. The classroom activities of “Discussion and Study” bring the novel into the students’ personal experience. Innovative assignments in “Writing” and the activities of “Projects and Assignments” are especially suited to be done after the students have developed familiarity with the story and its characters.

Reading David Copperfield, Resource Handbook for Teaching and Study. Baumgarten, Murray, et al. Santa Cruz: The Dickens Project, 1990.

Arthur Adrian
Peter F. Anson
Isabella Beeton
Claudia Black
Hablot K. Brown
Peggy Burkhardt
William J. Carlton
Caroline Chisholm
J. H. Clapham
M. H. Clapham
Lady Jane Clutterbuck (Catherine Dickens)
Jane Cohen
Philip Collins
John Cotter
Richard Currie
Charles Dickens
Richard J. Dunn
John Dyson
Barbara Ehrenriech
Edward Eigner
Deirdre English
Joan Evans
Arthur Freeling
Robin Gilmour
Lois Graham
Robert Graves
Walter Houghton
Albert D. Hutter
John O. Jordan
Barbara Keller
James Kincaid
Coral Lansbury
Judy Lucas
Judith Machado
Glenn K. S. Man
Henry Mayhew
Jo McMurtry
Joyce Miller
Julie Minnis
Sylvère Monod
Henry Morley
J. H. Newman
David Parker
Coventry Patmore
Jane Purcell
Lisa Regul
Kate Rickman
Paul Schlicke
Hilary M. Schor
Gail Starkey Oliver
Kathleen Strange
Harry Stone
Stanley Williams
W. H. Wills
Douglas Woodruff
Virginia Woolf

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