Visualizing the Vir Bonus in Charles Dickens's Scenes of Persuasion. The Rhetoric of Pity, Sentiment, Fact, and Debt
ISBN: 978-91-88899-55-2, 978-91-88899-56-9
This study presents a re-reading of some of Charles Dickens’s most famous works and contends that they are filled with scenes of persuasion—moments of heightened rhetoric. It traces the idea of a vir bonus: a voice that speaks from the perspective of truth and love based in spontaneous feeling. Presenting this ideal of a successful and ethical rhetorician within the narratives, the analyses also offer ways of reading Dickens’s novels as scenes of persuasion in themselves and thus shed light on a successful decoder of the rhetoric: an ethical reader. The vision that emerges from these novels is that a fulfilled human life is possible if community, imagination, feeling, and kindness are valued above everything. In spite of their political and cultural actuality, the brilliance of these narratives lies in the detail, in Dickens’s divine comedy, and in his moving scenes of persuasion.