Poverty, Dickens’s Oliver Twist, and J. R. McCulloch / Fakirlik, Dickens’ın Oliver Twist Adlı Eseri ve J. R. McCulloch

Ayşe Çelikkol


As the precursor to the science of economics, political economy concerned some topics that also preoccupied novelists, such as poverty and wealth. Literary criticism in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries has been charting the ways in which the discourses of literature and political economy intersect, despite the Romantic disavowal of their commonalities. Aiming to contribute to this ongoing scholarly effort, this essay pinpoints an unexpected affinity between Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, a novel which addresses the plight of the poor under the New Poor Law of 1834, and the political economist J. R. McCulloch’s writing on that piece of legislation. Both mistrust theoretical knowledge and privilege the particular as the basis on which one must make decisions. This affinity is unexpected because Oliver Twist repudiates political economy. Recognizing McCulloch’s and Dickens’s common epistemology alerts us to the ways in which the preference for the particular over the systemic shapes Oliver Twist. The common ground between Oliver Twist and McCulloch’s writing on the New Poor Law attests to the interconnectedness of literature and political economy.

Anahtar Kelimeler

Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens, New Poor Law, political economy, J. R. McCulloch.

Tam Metin:

PDF (English)


Blake, K. (2009). Pleasures of Benthamism: Victorian literature, utility, political economy. London: Oxford University Press.

Blaug, M. (1963). The myth of the Old Poor Law and the making of the new. The Journal of Economic History 23(2), 151-84.

Buzard, J. (2014). Item of mortality: lives led and unled in Oliver Twist. ELH: English Literary History 81(4), 1225-51.

Courtemanche, E. (2011). The invisible hand and British fiction, 1818-1860. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dickens, C. (1965). Letters. Ed. Madeline House et al. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dickens, C. (1988). Oliver Twist. New York: Penguin Books.

Driver, F. (1993). Power and pauperism: the workhouse system, 1834-1884. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Fielding, K. J. (1987). Benthamite Utilitarianism and Oliver Twist: a novel of ideas. Dickens Quarterly 4(2), 49-65.

Gallagher, C. (2006). The body economic: life, death, and sensation in political economy and the Victorian novel. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Gilbert, G. (1985). The Morning Chronicle, Poor Laws, and political economy. History of Political Economy 17(2), 507-21.

Goodlad, L. M. E.. (2003). Victorian literature and the Victorian state: character and governance in liberal society. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Himmelfarb, G. (1984). The idea of poverty: England in the early industrial age. New York: Knopf.

McCulloch, John Ramsey. (1828). Poor Laws. Edinburgh Review 47(94), 303-330.

O’Brien, D. P. (2003). J. R. McCulloch: a study in classical economics. New York: Routledge.

Poovey, M. (2008). A history of the modern fact: problems of knowledge in the sciences of wealth and society. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Poovey, M. (2008). Genres of the credit economy: mediating value in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Schlicke, P. (1975). Bumble and the Poor Law satire of Oliver Twist. The Dickensian 71, 149-65.

Stević, A. (2014). Fatal extraction: Dickensian bildungsroman and the logic of dependency. Dickens Studies Annual: Essays on Victorian Fiction 45(1), 63-94.

Stokes, P. M. (2001). Bentham, Dickens, and the uses of the workhouse. SEL: Studies in English Literature 41(4), 711-27.

Woodmansee, M & Osteen M (1999). Introduction. The New Economic Criticism: Studies at the Intersection of Literature and Economics, eds. Woodmansee and Osteen. London and New York: Routledge.


  • Şu halde refbacks yoktur.