Catherine Waters on Dickens’ attitude to women for ‘The Conversation’

Charles dickens

Professor Cathy Waters, Professor of Victorian Literature and Print Culture in the School of English, has written a piece for The Conversation entitled ‘Charles Dickens’s attitude towards women was more complex than ‘misogynist’ label suggests’.

Cathy’s article explores Dickens’ varying views towards women; from the well-publicised cruel treatment of his wife and his depiction of weak female characters in his works, to exploring the constrictions of women’s roles in his fiction and recruiting prominent women writers to contribute to his journals.

‘While his reputation as an exponent of the “home goddess” stereotype is undeniable, he also imagined strong women, rebellious women, and women inwardly divided, who provide a more complex picture of his fictional treatment of the opposite sex than this reputation suggests’, Cathy explains. ‘And in the practical support he gave to women like Eliza Lynn, we remember above all his deep commitment to writing, to the professions of literature and journalism, and his unshakeable belief in their ability to move us so as to remedy social injustice and inequality for women and men’.

The full article is available to read on The Conversation’s website here: