Dickens’s final completed fiction, Holiday Romance, is a neglected and misunderstood work. It is a suite of four short stories and what little critical attention it has garnered has missed the main idea behind the work. While most scholars who have written about Holiday Romance consider it as little more than children’s entertainment, it is better interpreted as political commentary on expanding voting rights. Read in the context of Dickens’s complex views on the Second Reform Act of 1867, this work reflects his support for expanding the vote, his pessimism that Parliament could introduce any meaningful reform, and also his anxiety over mob rule. Throughout the four stories, children dream of role reversals with adults, sometimes resulting in utopic visions and sometimes descending into disturbing fantasies of violence. This article explores the way Dickens used the image of the abused child one last time as a potent symbol of the need for reform.

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