In-Class Writing: Dickens and the Magic Lantern

In his essay, “Dickensian Dissolving Views: The Magic Lantern, Visual Story-Tellng, and the Victorian Technological Imagination,” critic John Marsh makes two claims about Dickens’s relationship to magic lantern technology. First, he suggests that Dickens’s fiction is influenced by the magic lantern shows he loved as a child (and an adult). Second, he suggests that magic lantern technology “reconfigure(d) the human imagination” during the Victorian era.

Write a paragraph in which you put Dickens and Marsh into dialogue, in order to make a point about either the magic lantern’s influence on Dickens’s fiction or on the Victorian imagination (or both). Your job is to teach a reader of A Christmas Carol something interesting about the relationship between magic lantern shows and Dickens’s most famous and influential work of fiction.

Some advice: Draw on the techniques described in my handout, “Integrating Sources and Indicating Stance.” Choose verbs and other language carefully, to emphasize your stance. Take control of the conversation. Aim for polished prose (rather than length).

Integrating Sources & Indicating Stance

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