This article argues that anonymous characters serve an important role within Dickens's effort to render the networked nature of Victorian society. Building on recent scholarship that has turned to “networks” to examine Dickens's complex and evolving character systems, this article details the insights gleaned from an interdisciplinary research program that uses computational methods to map Dickens's character networks as they develop during a novel's serial production. In particular, it highlights the problems presented by characters who remain nameless: while these characters may seem insignificant or a mere background to the action of a novel, they frequently inhabit functionally and structurally significant positions within character networks that aim to capture complex social relationships. Through detailed analysis of anonymous characters in Martin Chuzzlewit and Bleak House, this article argues that anonymity becomes one way in which Dickens's novels aim to reconcile particularized and structural perspectives on the social body. Although it is easy to fixate on Dickens's idiosyncratic practices of naming characters, those who remain nameless actually provide important insights into Dickens's navigation of serial form and the development of his representational practices from his earliest sketches through to his final novels.

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