Gaiman certainly has 19th-century forebears, but they are Dickens’s disreputable contemporaries, Wilkie Collins or Bram Stoker or Sheridan Le Fanu, more than Dickens himself. Gaiman’s literary grandparents, we might say, are Lewis Carroll and Mary Shelley, and Gaiman’s ascendancy symbolizes the fact that the genres they pioneered — which were condescended to or sneered at for generations — have now conquered the culture.

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