The Oxford University Press edition of Our Mutual Friend (1987, reissued 2008) begins with an essay by the editor, Michael Cotsell, in which he places the book within an intriguing historical context: the changing social and cultural attitudes of writers as the mid-Victorian evolved into the late-Victorian period. Cotsell discusses the influence of Darwin on Dickens’ imagery in Our Mutual Friend, for example. He also makes reference to novels and authors we’ve already read – from Great Expectations and Bleak House to Barchester Towers and Wives and Daughters; from Dickens and Trollope to George Eliot and Henry James.
The Introduction is of moderate length – 8 pages. I post a PDF here and will bring some hard copies to our meeting on Saturday.