Dickens and the Stenographic Mind

Hugo Bowles · ISBN 9780198829072
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Publisher Oxford University Press UK
Author(s) Hugo Bowles
Published 7th February 2019
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Dickens learned shorthand in 1829 at the age of 18 with a view to becoming a law reporter, but then went on to use it throughout his working life for all his writing practices, including letter writing, note-taking, and drafting copies of his work. The Victorian stenographic system that he used, called Brachygraphy, was extremely difficult for Dickens to learn and use because it involved having to reduce words to consonants, like modern text messages,
turn the consonants into shorthand symbols in his head, and then write them down, while doing the reverse to read them back. This book is about the way that Dicken's learning of this strange shorthand code
affected the way that he processed language mentally and how this produced a 'stenographic' way of thinking. The book argues that Dickens's 'stenographic mind' unconsciously affected his longhand writing style.


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