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Victorian scholar Natalie McKnight’s office is littered with books by and about Charles Dickens and with Dickens-related tchotchkes, like her customized Red Sox jersey with “C Dickens” on the back and a collection of Dickens action figures. The College of General Studies dean even wears a Dickens charm bracelet.
The 19th-century British novelist and social critic is known for his gritty accounts of life in the country’s workhouses and orphanages. Among his most celebrated are David Copperfield, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, and perhaps most famous, A Christmas Carol, especially popular during the holiday season, 175 years after it was written. McKnight, who has published several books on Dickens and is coeditor of Dickens Studies Annual, offers a surprising assessment of Scrooge, the novel’s misanthropic protagonist.