Hearing voices allowed Charles Dickens to create extraordinary fictional worlds | Books | theguardian.com

Dickens' Dream … Charles Dickens in his Gad’s Hill Place study, in Higham, Kent, conjuring up his characters while asleep. Detail from the watercolour sketch by Robert William Buss. Courtesy of The Charles Dickens Museum

Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust (1934) ends with its protagonist, Tony Last, trapped in the Brazilian jungle by his captor, Mr Todd, who compels him to read aloud the complete works of Charles Dickens, in sequence, over and over, without end – or escape. It’s a fantastically dark conceit: the great Victorian novelist as the sadist’s accomplice. It also links Dickens to the possibility that there is something potentially oppressive, even imprisoning, in experiencing the human voice. Voices, it suggests, may tyrannise the mind.

via Hearing voices allowed Charles Dickens to create extraordinary fictional worlds | Books | theguardian.com.