When I tread the old ground, I do not wonder that I seem to see and pity, going on before me, an innocent romantic boy, making his imaginative world out of such strange experiences and sordid things!

Category: Mind | Type: Discussion | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: I Begin Life on My Own Account, and Don't Like It

David comes close to saying what Dickens wrote of himself. However terrible this time was it contributed to making him what he became. That it did not crush him is remarkable. Rather, the more hopeless, shameful, lonely, and neglected he felt at this time the more certainly it shaped his imagination, to the point, as he writes, that David cannot distinguish now between what the imagination contributed and what was actual, which is to say his imagination acquired such strength as to rival reality in its vividness and to infiltrate his memory. 

return to text