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Dickens and the Spirit of the Age considers the extent to which Dickens and his work reflect the vibrant novelty of the middle third of the nineteenth century, an age in which the modern world was shaped and determined. It looks at the culture from which Dickens sprang - a mechanized and increasingly urbanized culture - and it sees his rootlessness and restlessness as symptomatic of what was essentially new: the period's political and technological
enterprise; its urbanization; its new definitions of social class and social mobility; and, finally, its dynamic sense of distinction from the preceding age. Although his fiction was rooted in traditions established and evolved in the eighteenth century, Dickens was uniquely equipped to remould the English novel into
a new and flexible fictional form, as a direct response to the social, urban, and political challenges of his time.