A Writer’s Guide to Understanding Charles Dickens’s "George Silverman’s Explanation"

Oppenheim, Chaya Sara

This thesis proposes that “George Silverman’s Explanation”—the last short story completed by Charles Dickens—should be read as Dickens’s final and most comprehensive treatise on writing. The argument states that Dickens, instead of outlining an explicit approach to the writing process, utilizes the narrative of George Silverman as an allegory to detail the formation of a story. The thesis suggests that the framework of “George Silverman’s Explanation” portrays the growth trajectory of the writer and his eternal struggle to create original work from the world of literature that precedes him. For a renowned author like Dickens, approaching his last short story as his departing discourse on the construction of literature is invaluable instruction for future writers.

Interestingly, “George Silverman’s Explanation” is also Dickens’s least analyzed work. For this reason, this thesis addresses essentially all of the scholarship that has been written on the short story before preceding to add a new perspective on how the short story can be approached. Understanding this short story as a blueprint for writers provides an innovative and unique angle for approaching literature, since a writer reads with their eyes on the future—and the original works that they can create.


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August 29, 2022


Dickens, George Silverman's Explanation , Writer, Pedagogy