This essay argues that The Pickwick Papers belongs to a history of the novel and the law courts as two interdependent storytelling forums. It takes a closer look into the way that-as critics and readers have observed-the trial of Bardell against Pickwick marks a transition in Dickens's work from episodic sketches to the form of the Victorian novel. A story of the production of Pickwick emerges: Pickwick's visits to the law offices and the court constitute a part of Dickens's own struggle to discover for himself both the novel as a genre and his position as a professional author. This engagement with the urban, physical structure of the civil law courts as another structure for storytelling is particularly Victorian, recalling, for instance, the construction of the immense Royal Courts of Justice during the period.
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