Hearing voices allowed Charles Dickens to create extraordinary fictional worlds


The novelist Charles Dickens said he did not invent, but merely recorded what he heard and saw.

According to Peter Garratt (a lecturer in the department of English studies at Durham University, England and a participating researcher on the Hearing the Voice project) this prompts questions about the act of writing.  

In his article published in the Inner Voices series by the UK newspaper The Guardian on the 22nd August 2014 Garratt claims hearing voices and inventing character were indivisible aspects of his creativity.

Dickens understood his astonishing writing practice as the summoning of voices. “Every word said by his characters was distinctly heard by him,” one critic stressed in 1872. Dickens himself considered his novels to come from some autonomous source beyond volition, as he wrote to his friend John Forster: “when I sit down to my book, some beneficent power shows it all to me, and tempts me to be interested, and I don’t invent it – really do not – but see it, and write it down”.

You can read the full article here.

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