Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sorry for Repeating Myself: Link to Vrettos and Between Schwartz

Here is a link to the article that I mentioned in our seminar meeting on Monday as something that I felt connected to Hillel Schwartz's um...interesting, broad, and unique take on the power of repetition:


The html link is through Project MUSE, and the article is called "Defining Habits: Dickens and the Psychology of Repetition," Victorian Studies 42.3 (2000): 399-426.

I think that, overall, Vrettos's discussion of habit provides an interesting point of intersection in relation to Schwartz's discussion of Tourette Syndrome and the importance of repetition in linguistic acquisition and retention (Schwartz 303).  Similarly, Vrettos's exploration of habit in Victorian characterizations (especially in Dickens) focuses on the psychological, discussing "obsessive behaviors" (Vrettos 413) that sound very similar to Tourette Syndrome or even Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Dickensian characters.  And as I mentioned on Monday, another interesting Dickensian context of the Vrettos and Schwartz pieces is the frequent criticism of Dickens over the years that he often depicted similarly quirky characters in his works, rendering him guilty of character repetition or recycling.  Also, the Vrettos article specifically discusses Great Expectations (Vrettos 409-411).

But on a broader scale, Schwartz's emphasis on the value and importance of repetition, and Vrettos's emphasis on the extent to which repetition is essential to character identity in Dickens's works, reveals even further the psychological complications that Pip and Scrooge must endure as they experience their changes of character and representation in their respective texts.  So, maybe this issue will come up a few more times in our seminar as we discuss those texts more specifically.

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