On 7 February 1812, Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England. As a consequence, world-wide celebrations have taken place in 2012, the bicentennial year of his birth. And why not celebrate the birth of the creator of some 989 named characters such as the Artful Dodger, Mr Micawber, Little Nell, Wackford Squeers, Uriah Heep, Peggotty, Fagin, William Dorrit, Scrooge, Pecksniff, Paul Dombey, Sally Brass, and Bucket? These unforgettable characters (and others) appear in classic works such as Sketches by Boz (1836), Pickwick Papers (1836-37), Oliver Twist (1837-39), David Copperfield (1850), Great Expectations (1860-61), Our Mutual Friend (1864-65), and the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870).

Special Collections, University of Otago Library, is fortunate to hold first and second editions of works by Dickens, as well as scarce published parts and periodicals that offer first time appearances. And many of these works contain memorable images executed by artists who collaborated closely with him. They include George Cruikshank, Hablot Knight Browne (‘Phiz’), John Leech, Frank and Marcus Stone, and Luke Fildes. Indeed, who can forget Cruikshank’s depiction of Oliver holding out his cup and asking for more gruel?

Dickens was a man of his times; the Victorian times. With his publishers, he capitalized on technologies and innovative marketing strategies by supplying instalments of his works to a growing reading public. He was inundated with letters from readers, many begging him not to kill off Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop. And on the eve of her coronation, Victoria was so taken with Oliver Twist that she recommended it to her minister, Lord Melbourne. In her words, the work was 'excessively interesting'. Dickens also took his works on the road, performing numerous public readings in Britain and overseas.

His writing career spanned 34 years, during which he wrote 15 major novels, his famed Christmas books, travel books, plays, numerous newspaper and periodical contributions, and many miscellaneous pieces. To contextualise his life and works a select number of themes that figure so strongly during the reign of Queen Victoria will be on display. They include the City of London; the poor and dispossessed; Punch; the Great Exhibition; and the Crimean War. Dickens and his enduring legacy will also feature.

Exhibition handlist (PDF) | Exhibition poster (PDF)

References:

  • Paul Davis, Charles Dickens A to Z. New York: Facts on File, 1998.
  • John C. Eckel, The First Editions of the Writings of Charles Dickens. Their Points and Values. Mansfield Centre, Ct: Martino Publishing, 2007.
  • Charles Dickens in Context. Edited by Sally Ledger and Holly Furneaux. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Oxford National Dictionary of Biography www.oxforddnb.com
  • Michael Slater, Charles Dickens. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
  • Claire Tomalin, Charles Dickens. New York: Penguin, 2011
  • Victorian Web www.victorianweb.org - Charles Dickens

Thanks to:

Ian Church, Dunedin; Lucy Neales, Melbourne Dickens Fellowship; Georgia Prince, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Library; Esme Richards, Christchurch Dickens Fellowship; JoAnna Rottke, Dickens Project Co-ordinator, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Anthony Tedeschi, Heritage Collections, Dunedin Public Library

Friends


Charles Dickens was the second of eight children to John and Elizabeth Dickens, née Barrow. Financial mismanagement resulted in John being imprisoned for debt in Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison. One consequence of this was that the twelve-year old Dickens was taken out of school and made to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory, where he spent ten hours a day, Monday through Saturday, pasting labels onto pots of blacking. This experience haunted Dickens for years, and many of his novels like Dombey and Son and David Copperfield reflect his concern for destitute children, orphans and abandonment. Here he is in happier times, with a portrait painted by E. Lawn, circa 1870. The usual flourish that ended most of Dickens’s letters is depicted opposite.

[Portrait of Charles Dickens by E. Lawn from Charles Dickens Papers 1845-1881.]


Charles Dickens Papers 1845-1881 . ___, [1870]. MS 77-97. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Library.


Charles Dickens was the second of eight children to John and Elizabeth Dickens, née Barrow. Financial mismanagement resulted in John being imprisoned for debt in Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison. One consequence of this was that the twelve-year old Dickens was taken out of school and made to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory, where he spent ten hours a day, Monday through Saturday, pasting labels onto pots of blacking. This experience haunted Dickens for years, and many of his novels like Dombey and Son and David Copperfield reflect his concern for destitute children, orphans and abandonment. Here he is in happier times, with a portrait painted by E. Lawn, circa 1870. The usual flourish that ended most of Dickens’s letters is depicted opposite.

[Letter written by Charles Dickens in Charles Dickens Papers 1845-1881.]


Charles Dickens Papers 1845-1881 . ___, [1845]. MS 77-97. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Library.


By February 1838, Charles Dickens had begun Nicholas Nickleby, his third novel. Published serially between April 1838 and October 1839, he was paid £150 per number, with a bonus offered of £1500 on completion. The soon-to-be-more-famous Hablot Knight Browne (‘Phiz’) illustrated the novel. There was fieldwork involved. In 1838, both men travelled to Yorkshire to look at schools; Dotheboys Hall was the reconstituted literary result. This first book edition also contains Daniel Maclise’s engraved portrait of Dickens as well as coloured plates by ‘Peter Palette’, a pseudonym for Thomas Onwhyn, a later Punch illustrator.

[The internal economy of Dotheboys Hall. An illustration by Hablot Knight Browne in Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.]


The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby . London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Special Collections PR 4565 A1 1839


Sample of Charles Dickens's signature from Charles Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Household Edition).

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. London: Chapman and Hall, 1875. de Beer Eb 1871 D


William Makepeace Thackeray was not only a major Victorian writer who created works such as Vanity Fair, but he was also an accomplished artist. Indeed, after the suicide of Robert Seymour, Dickens’s first illustrator, Thackeray applied to illustrate Pickwick Papers. He was unsuccessful in this. Initially good friends, Dickens and he had a falling out: the so-called Garrick Club Affair of 1858, which was started by one Edmund Yates. Fortunately, there was reconciliation before Thackeray’s death in December 1863. On display are Dickens’s eulogy of Thackeray in The Cornhill Magazine, and the first serial instalment of Thackeray’s London novel The History of Pendennis.

[Cover of number 1, the November issue, 1848 of William Makepeace Thackeray's The History of Pendennis.]


The History of Pendennis . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1849-1850. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1849 T


William Makepeace Thackeray was not only a major Victorian writer who created works such as Vanity Fair, but he was also an accomplished artist. Indeed, after the suicide of Robert Seymour, Dickens’s first illustrator, Thackeray applied to illustrate Pickwick Papers. He was unsuccessful in this. Initially good friends, Dickens and he had a falling out: the so-called Garrick Club Affair of 1858, which was started by one Edmund Yates. Fortunately, there was reconciliation before Thackeray’s death in December 1863. On display are Dickens’s eulogy of Thackeray in The Cornhill Magazine, and the first serial instalment of Thackeray’s London novel The History of Pendennis.

[Page 129 from The Cornhill Magazine, Volume IX, February, 1864. In Memoriam by Charles Dickens.]


The Cornhill Magazine- In Memoriam . London: Smith, Elder and company, 1864. Storage Journal AP 4 C67


Portrait of Charles Dickens by Daniel Maclise in John Forster's The Life of Charles Dickens.

The Life of Charles Dickens . London: Chapman and Hall , [187?]. Storage Bliss YI9 Di4 F


Dickens first met Wilkie Collins (1824-1889), author of Woman in White, in 1851. They became fast friends, collaborating in many projects. Indeed, so close was their relationship, that it has been claimed that Collins was the ‘Dickensian Ampersand’ (Philip V. Allingham, Victorian Web). The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices was one such project, where Collins assumed the identity of Thomas Idle (a born-and-bred idler) and Dickens that of Francis Goodchild (laboriously idle). Originally published in Household Words (October-November 1857), it finally appeared in book form in 1890.

[Illustration, The Ghost's Narrative, by Arthur Layard, opposite page 72 in Charles Dickens's and Wilkie Collins's The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices; No Thoroughfare; The Perils of Certain English Prisoners.]


The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices; No Thoroughfare; The Perils of Certain English Prisoners. . London: Chapman and Hall, 1890. Storage Bliss YI DicS C


When Dickens and Thomas Carlyle met in 1840, it was the beginning of a life-long friendship. The gruff Scot held a contrary opinion on Dickens, the so-called ‘entertainer’: ‘Dickens had not written anything which would be found of much use in solving the problems of life.’ After Dickens’s death, Carlyle proclaimed: ‘the good, the gentle, ever noble Dickens, - every inch of him an Honest Man!’ Dickens claimed to have read the essayist’s The French Revolution 500 times, and used it as a basis for his own A Tale of Two Cities. This copy was once Truby King’s and is annotated by him.

[Page 304-305 from Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus (1831); Lectures on Heroes (1840).]


Sartor Resartus (1831); Lectures on Heroes (1840). . London: Chapman and Hall, 1858. Truby King Collection PR 4429 A1 1858


When touring America in 1842, Dickens met Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was Longfellow who thought the creator of Oliver and Nicholas Nickleby had ‘a slight dash of the Dick Swiveller about him’. Their trans-Atlantic friendship continued, and when Longfellow visited London in 1843, Dickens took him on a night tour of the slums. While staying with Dickens, Longfellow (to George Slater) captured an evocative moment at Devonshire Terrace: ‘I write this from Dickens’s study… The raven croaks in the garden; and the ceaseless roar of London fills my ears.’ Here is Longfellow’s well known Song of Hiawatha.

[Page 202 and 203, The Song of Hiawatha, from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poetical Works. ]


Poetical Works . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1893. Brasch PS2250 1893


John Forster (1812-1876), was Dickens’s closest friend. He read proofs of many of Dickens’s works, advised him on financial and personal matters, and became Dickens’s literary executor. Known also as ‘Fuz’ or ‘Beadle of the Universe’, Forster was Dickens’s Boswell, producing the first biography, Life of Charles Dickens in 1872. Despite Forster’s suppression of facts about Dickens’s relationship with Ellen Ternan, the book was a great success. This plate by Daniel Maclise in this copy of Forster’s biography portrays Dickens reading The Chimes to his friends in John Forster’s chambers in 1844. Dickens was introduced to Forster by the novelist William H. Ainsworth.

[At 58, Lincolns Inn Fields, Monday the 2nd of December 1844 by Daniel Maclise, opposite page 242 in John Forster's The Life of Charles Dickens.]


The Life of Charles Dickens . London: Chapman and Hall, [187-?]. Storage Bliss YI9 Di4 F


Domestic Affairs


Portrait in oils of Catherine Dickens, 1847. Copy of original at Charles Dickens Museum, London. Catherine Dickens (1815-1879), née Hogarth, married Dickens on 2 April 1836. They set up home at 48 Doughty Street (now the Charles Dickens Museum, London) and had ten children. In May 1858, they separated after Catherine discovered Dickens’s infidelities with actress Ellen Ternan. In 1879, just before she died, Catherine gifted letters from Dickens with the note to her daughter Kate: ‘Give these to the British Museum, that the world may know he loved me once’. Catherine was also an author. In 1851, she published under the name ‘Lady Maria Clutterbuck’, What shall we have for dinner? Satisfactorily answered by numerous bills of fare for from two to eighteen persons (1851), a cookbook that was very popular, going through several editions.

Catherine Dickens . ___, 1847. No call number


Catherine Dickens (1815-1879), née Hogarth, married Dickens on 2 April 1836. They set up home at 48 Doughty Street (now the Charles Dickens Museum, London) and had ten children. In May 1858, they separated after Catherine discovered Dickens’s infidelities with actress Ellen Ternan. In 1879, just before she died, Catherine gifted letters from Dickens with the note to her daughter Kate: ‘Give these to the British Museum, that the world may know he loved me once’. Catherine was also an author. In 1851, she published under the name ‘Lady Maria Clutterbuck’, What shall we have for dinner? Satisfactorily answered by numerous bills of fare for from two to eighteen persons (1851), a cookbook that was very popular, going through several editions.

[Page 46-47 from a facsimile of Lady Maria Clutterbuck's What shall we have for Dinner? Satisfactorily answered by numerous bills of fare for from two to eighteen persons.]


What shall we have for Dinner? Satisfactorily answered by numerous bills of fare for from two to eighteen persons . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1852 (facsimile). Special Collections TX737 D524 2010


Venue: Manchester Free Trade Hall; dates: 21, 22, and 24 August 1857; protagonists - Nelly (18); Charles (45). ‘Nelly’ was the actress Ellen Lawless Ternan (1839–1914), who became Dickens’s love interest after he saw her perform on stage in the Wilkie Collins play The Frozen Deep. Conscious of public opinion, their relationship was known to only a few friends. Dickens discretely supported Ternan, and she occasionally accompanied him on his travels. In 1876, after Dickens’s death, she married George Wharton Robinson, a clergyman twelve years her junior. On display is a photograph copy of Ternan, c.1875, as well as a reprint of Dickens’s Will where he leaves her ‘£1000 free of legacy duty’.

[Photograph of Ellen Ternan, c. 1875.]


Ellen Ternan . ___, c. 1875. No call number


Venue: Manchester Free Trade Hall; dates: 21, 22, and 24 August 1857; protagonists - Nelly (18); Charles (45). ‘Nelly’ was the actress Ellen Lawless Ternan (1839–1914), who became Dickens’s love interest after he saw her perform on stage in the Wilkie Collins play The Frozen Deep. Conscious of public opinion, their relationship was known to only a few friends. Dickens discretely supported Ternan, and she occasionally accompanied him on his travels. In 1876, after Dickens’s death, she married George Wharton Robinson, a clergyman twelve years her junior. On display is a photograph copy of Ternan, c.1875, as well as a reprint of Dickens’s Will where he leaves her ‘£1000 free of legacy duty’.

[Page 68-69 from Ada Nisbet's Dickens & Ellen Ternan.]


Dickens & Ellen Ternan . Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1952. Storage PR 4582 NP94


This delightful sketch of (right to left) Dickens, his wife Catherine, and sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth was executed by Dickens’s friend Daniel Maclise. Catherine became Dickens’s wife, and Georgina became Dickens’s household organiser, and sided with him during the separation scandal. One Hogarth is missing: Mary, who moved into Dickens’s household in 1836. A year later, this ‘young, beautiful and good’ girl died in Dickens’s arms. Many scholars have suggested that Mary was the model for Little Nell, in The Old Curiosity Shop.

[Copy of original from Forster Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.]


Charles Dickens and the Hogarth Sisters . ___, 1843. No call number


First Fruits: Sketches and Pickwick


While submitting contributions to the Monthly Magazine, Dickens formed his pen-name – ‘Boz’. He juggled parliamentary reporting (he was adept at shorthand) with creative writing, submitting additional ‘sketches’ to the Evening Chronicle, edited by his future father-in-law George Hogarth. Dickens was an excellent observer, and his Sketches by Boz include memorable descriptions of people and places, especially of London. ‘Thoughts about People’ is but one, ably illustrated by George Cruikshank, the ‘modern Hogarth’, who was equally secretive about his personal life (unbeknown to all, he had a mistress by whom he fathered 11 illegitimate children).

[Thoughts about People. Illustration by George Cruikshank, opposite page 90 from Charles Dickens's Sketches by Boz. Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People.]


Sketches by Boz. Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People. . London: John Macrone, 1837. Special Collections PR4570 A1 1837


In December 1833 Dickens’s first published literary work appeared in the Monthly Magazine; it was entitled ‘A Dinner at Poplar Walk’ (later called ‘Mr Minns and his Cousin’). His first book was Sketches by Boz, and it contained sketches and tales written during 1833 and 1836, including the above ‘Mr Minns’. On display is the Second Series edition, which contained stories not in the First Series of February 1836. Published by John Macrone, the two volume set was illustrated by George Cruikshank, who, along with Dickens, is depicted as a flag waver in this engraved title page. In 1834, Dickens was 22 and a little known Parliamentary reporter; by 1837 he was famous. Sketches by Boz, well-received on publication, did much to establish his reputation.

[Vauxhall Gardens by Day (left) and Sketches by Boz- Second Series (right). Illustrated frontispiece and title page by George Cruikshank, from Charles Dickens's Sketches by Boz. Illustrative of Every-day Life, and Every-day People. Second Series.]


Sketches by Boz. Illustrative of Every-day Life, and Every-day People . London: John Macrone, 1837. Special Collections PR4570 A1 1836a


In early March 1836, Dickens signed a contract with the fledging firm of Chapman and Hall, who gambled on serial publication of Pickwick Papers, Dickens’s first novel. He was to receive £14 for each 12,000-word instalment. Only 1,000 of the first number were printed; by late November 1837, 40,000 copies were being sold. The appearance of Sam Weller clinched Dickens’s reputation, and Pickwick Papers was a runaway bestseller. This first book edition of the twenty instalments contains illustrations by Robert Seymour, who completed them up to the second number; R. W. Buss, who was an interim illustrator; and then 20 year old Hablot Browne, who would become Dickens’s most consistent artistic collaborator.

[Title page of Charles Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. 1st bound edition.]


The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club . London: Chapman and Hall, 1837. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1837 D


In early March 1836, Dickens signed a contract with the fledging firm of Chapman and Hall, who gambled on serial publication of Pickwick Papers, Dickens’s first novel. He was to receive £14 for each 12,000-word instalment. Only 1,000 of the first number were printed; by late November 1837, 40,000 copies were being sold. The appearance of Sam Weller clinched Dickens’s reputation, and Pickwick Papers was a runaway bestseller. This first book edition of the twenty instalments contains illustrations by Robert Seymour, who completed them up to the second number; R. W. Buss, who was an interim illustrator; and then 20 year old Hablot Browne, who would become Dickens’s most consistent artistic collaborator.

[Title page and frontispiece from Charles Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. 1st bound edition. Illustrations by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz).]


The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club . London: Chapman and Hall, 1837. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1837 D


London & Queen Victoria


In 1812, London’s population was over a million, and by 1880 it had reached 4.5 million. Dickens knew the City well and as he walked it, he observed the sights and sounds and smells of this bustling metropolis: rich and poor, Cockney hawkers and vagabonds, the railway, immigrants (Chinese, Irish, Russians), the over-crowded docks, the fog-bound Thames, sooty, stinking pathways, the new and innovative, and so much more. And importantly, he wrote about it. In truth, ‘London created Dickens, just as Dickens created London’ (Ackroyd). The Fagin-like clothes-seller is from Andrew White Tuer’s Old London Street Cries and the Cries of To-day (1885).

[II. Holborn, Fleet Street, Strand, fold-out map from Karl Baedeker's London and Its Environs: Handbook for Travellers. 7th rev. edition.]


London and Its Environs: Handbook for Travellers . [Leipzig]: Karl Baedeker, 1889. Special Collections DA679 B351 1889


In 1812, London’s population was over a million, and by 1880 it had reached 4.5 million. Dickens knew the City well and as he walked it, he observed the sights and sounds and smells of this bustling metropolis: rich and poor, Cockney hawkers and vagabonds, the railway, immigrants (Chinese, Irish, Russians), the over-crowded docks, the fog-bound Thames, sooty, stinking pathways, the new and innovative, and so much more. And importantly, he wrote about it. In truth, ‘London created Dickens, just as Dickens created London’ (Ackroyd). The Fagin-like clothes-seller is from Andrew White Tuer’s Old London Street Cries and the Cries of To-day (1885).

[O' Clo! Illustration from page 61 of Andrew White Tuer's Old London Street Cries and the Cries of To-day.]


Old London Street Cries and the Cries of To-day . London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, 1885. Special Collections DA688 TW64


Despite her mother’s disapproval of novels, Queen Victoria read Oliver Twist and found it so ‘excessively interesting’ that she pressed it on the prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who responded with: ‘It’s all among Workhouses, and Coffin Makers, and Pickpockets…I don’t like that low debasing style’. In 1840 Victoria married Albert, Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Dickens created a love fantasy over her, getting back privately at Albert by calling him a ‘German sassage [sausage]’ from ‘Saxe Humbug and Go-to-her’. On 9 March 1870, an ailing Dickens finally had a 90 minute audience with the Queen, who thanked him for the loan of some Civil War photographs, and discussed household matters such as ‘the cost of butchers’ meat, and bread’. Victoria found Dickens ‘very agreeable, with a pleasant voice and manner.’

[Page 4 and 5 from The Illustrated London News Record of the Glorious Reign of Queen Victoria.]


The Illustrated London News Record of the Glorious Reign of Queen Victoria . London: Illustrated London News, 1905. Special Collections DA550 I95


Dickens and the Poor


Angela Burdett Coutts (1814-1906), a philanthropic millionairess, became friends with Dickens about 1840. He undertook research for Coutts and began advising her on various charities in which she was interested. In the letter displayed, Dickens recounts his visit to a Ragged School in Saffron Hill, a notorious slum area of London and home to the fictional Fagin. Ragged Schools were set up in an attempt to bring education to the street children of London while also providing them with some food and clothing. Dickens praised the efforts of the teachers but was shocked by the parlous state of the children and advised Coutts that the school was ‘an experiment most worthy of [her] charitable hand’. Dickens and Coutts went on to other charity projects and set up Urania Cottage, a ‘Home for Fallen Women’, in May 1847.

[Page 50 and 51 from Letters from Charles Dickens to Angela Burdett-Coutts 1841-1865. Selected by Edgar Johnson.]


Letters from Charles Dickens to Angela Burdett-Coutts 1841-1865 . London: Jonathan Cape, [1953]. Central PR4581 A4 1953


Angela Burdett Coutts (1814-1906), a philanthropic millionairess, became friends with Dickens about 1840. He undertook research for Coutts and began advising her on various charities in which she was interested. In the letter displayed, Dickens recounts his visit to a Ragged School in Saffron Hill, a notorious slum area of London and home to the fictional Fagin. Ragged Schools were set up in an attempt to bring education to the street children of London while also providing them with some food and clothing. Dickens praised the efforts of the teachers but was shocked by the parlous state of the children and advised Coutts that the school was ‘an experiment most worthy of [her] charitable hand’. Dickens and Coutts went on to other charity projects and set up Urania Cottage, a ‘Home for Fallen Women’, in May 1847.

[Copy of photograph of Angela Burdett Coutts. ]


Angela Burdett Coutts (1814-1906) . ___, ___. No call number


Taken by John Thomson, a Scottish photographer, in 1877, the image on the left is titled ‘The Crawler’. ‘Crawlers’ were typically people so poverty-stricken that they didn’t even have the energy to beg. The destitute woman depicted is minding the baby of a friend with the hope of receiving a cup of tea and a piece of bread as payment, possibly the only nourishment she would have had all day. Although Thomson’s photograph is staged, the image is heart-breaking and there is no denying the desperation of the woman’s situation. The bedraggled group of boys on the right are awaiting admission to Dr Barnardo’s Home in about 1880. The lucky ones? Maybe.

[Photographs from Victorian Life in PhotographsThe Crawler (left) and Barnado's Boys (right).]


Victorian Life in Photographs . London: Thames and Hudson, 1974. Central DA533 VM36


Henry Mayhew’s (1812-1887) London Labour and the London Poor (1851), chronicles every aspect of the lives of the poor working classes of London. Especially poignant are Mayhew’s descriptions of the lives of the street children. He writes of the reasons for their being on the streets ‘through neglect… viciousness…from utter destitution’; their money-making ventures as crossing sweepers, errand runners and street sellers; their clothing and appearance; their diet, religion, education and morals. He describes how the children often drank a penny’s worth of gin ‘to keep the cold out’ and how they learned the ‘grossest immorality’ and ‘obscene expressions’ from adults.

[The Boy Crossing-Sweepers. Plate no. 47, facing page 178, from Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor. Volume II.]


London Labour and the London Poor . London: Charles Griffin and Company, [1865]. Special Collections HV4088 L8 MF27


Olly & Nick


Even before finishing Pickwick Papers, Dickens had contracted himself to edit Bentley’s Miscellany and provide a serial story – all for the sum of £20 a month. In the second number began Oliver Twist, Dickens’s second novel. It was serialized in 24 monthly instalments between February 1837 and April 1839, with production faulting for a month due to the death of Mary Hogarth. In the Miscellany (as displayed), the story was set in ‘Mudfog’, later altered to ‘a certain town which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning.’ George Cruikshank provided the illustrations, including this memorable one of Oliver asking for more gruel.

[Page 105 from Charles Dickens's 'Oliver Twist’ Chapter 1 in Bentley’s Miscellany. Vol. I.]


Oliver Twist, or, The Parish Boy's Progress. . London: Richard Bentley, 1837. Storage Journals AP4 B46


Even before finishing Pickwick Papers, Dickens had contracted himself to edit Bentley’s Miscellany and provide a serial story – all for the sum of £20 a month. In the second number began Oliver Twist, Dickens’s second novel. It was serialized in 24 monthly instalments between February 1837 and April 1839, with production faulting for a month due to the death of Mary Hogarth. In the Miscellany (as displayed), the story was set in ‘Mudfog’, later altered to ‘a certain town which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning.’ George Cruikshank provided the illustrations, including this memorable one of Oliver asking for more gruel.

[Oliver asking for more. Illustration by George Cruikshank, opposite page 105 in Charles Dickens's ‘Oliver Twist’, in Bentley’s Miscellany. Vol. I.]


Oliver Twist . London: Richard Bentley, 1837. Storage Journals AP4 B46


The heavy writing schedule that Dickens faced during the creation of Oliver Twist necessitated textual alterations to later printings. The most noticeable was the toning down of anti-Semitic references, especially to the character Fagin, based on the real-life criminal Ikey Solomon. Dickens had referred to Fagin as the ‘merry old gentleman’ or simply the ‘Jew’; in later editions, the mention of ‘Jew’ is much reduced. Oliver Twist is famous for revealing Dickens’s traumatic experience in the Blacking Factory. It not only contains unforgettable characters such as Mr Bumble, the Artful Dodger, Sikes and Nancy, but also his satirical swipes at the workhouse system, and the legal system that administered it. Here Cruikshank’s Fagin awaits his fate.

[Fagin in the condemned Cell. Illustration by George Cruikshank facing page 216 in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. 1st edition, 3rd issue.]


Oliver Twist . London, Richard Bentley, 1838. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1838 D


The writing of Nicholas Nickleby overlapped the serialization of Oliver Twist, and the editing of Memoirs of Grimaldi. Nicholas Nickleby, this ‘hero as a young man’ novel, was also serialized, starting in April 1838 and ending October 1839. Again some real-life people became part of the novel’s theatrics: Squeers, based on William Shaw, a bung-eyed school proprietor who had been sued in court for mistreating his charges; and garrulous Mrs Nickleby, based on Dickens’s own mother. Dickens must have been pleased with sales; the first number sold 48,000. This Dickens-like Nickleby (beside Miss Squeers) was executed by illustrator Frederick Barnard for the ‘Household Edition’, the first edition to be published after Dickens’s death in 1870.

[Oh! As soft as possible, if you please. Illustration by Frederick Barnard from page 53 of Charles Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Household Edition.]


The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby . London: Chapman and Hall, 1875. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1871 D


Master Humphrey's Clock


‘Night is generally my time for walking.’ So begins Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop, which features innocent Nell Trent pitted against the corrupt Quilp. Written to revive flagging sales of his own weekly serial Master Humphrey’s Clock, The Old Curiosity Shop began in the fourth number (25 April 1840). This overly sentimental novel has always provoked reaction. Irish politician Daniel O’Connell threw the book out of the train when he realized that Nell was going to die. Illustrators ‘Phiz’, George Cattermole, Maclise, and Samuel Williams were engaged to enhance the text.

[Page 109 from Charles Dickens's ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’, in Master Humphrey’s Clock. 1st edition, Vol. I. Illustration by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz).]


The Old Curiosity Shop in Master Humphrey's Clock. London: Chapman and Hall, 1840-1841. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1840 D


Title page from Edwin Pugh's The Charles Dickens Originals.

The Charles Dickens Originals . London, Edinburgh: T. N. Foulis, 1912. Storage PR4581 PZ24


On his 18th birthday, Dickens acquired a ticket for the British Museum reading room. In that same year (1830), he fell head over heels in love with Maria Beadnell, a banker’s daughter. Although she ‘pervaded every chink and crevice’ of his being, the courtship ended in 1833. In 1855, Dickens met Maria again. Disillusionment sunk in; meeting Mrs Henry Winter was a far cry from those nostalgic ‘Copperfield days’. Not one to miss an opportunity, Dickens had portrayed the young Maria as Dora in David Copperfield; she now became the matronly Flora Finching in Little Dorrit.

[Photograph of Maria Beadnell from Edwin Pugh's The Charles Dickens Originals.]


The Charles Dickens Originals . London: T. N. Foulis, 1912. Storage PR4581 PZ24


Barnaby Rudge, Dickens’s fifth novel, centred round the Gordon ‘No Popery’ Riots of 1780 and the murder of Reuben Haredale. Originally planned to be his first novel and entitled Gabriel Varden, the Locksmith of London, it was put aside because of the success of Pickwick. An historical novel in the tradition of Sir Walter Scott, Barnaby Rudge first appeared in serial form in Master Humphrey’s Clock from February to November 1841. Maria Beadnell, Dickens’s first love, was the original of the flirtatious Dolly Varden.

[Chapter the First from Charles Dickens's ‘Barnaby Rudge’, in Master Humphrey’s Clock. 1st edition. Vol. II.]


‘Barnaby Rudge’, in Master Humphrey’s Clock. . London: Chapman and Hall, 1840-1841. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1840 D


The Christmas Spirit


Did Dickens invent Christmas? No, but he certainly deserves credit for rejuvenating celebrations surrounding the day. Indeed, he is the one writer strongly identified with Christmas – and its spirit. Within a six year period he wrote five Christmas books: A Christmas Carol (1843); The Chimes (1844); The Cricket on the Hearth (1845); The Battle of Life (1846); and The Haunted Man (1848). Issued ten days before Christmas 1843, A Christmas Carol sold 6000 copies in one day. Nevertheless, and at least initially, it was a commercial failure. It was also the first and last time that Dickens used a colour title-page. The story of selfishness and transformation has become a modern classic of Christmas literature, and is quintessentially Victorian Dickens.

[Title page and frontispiece, illustrations by John Leech, from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.]


A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas . London: Chapman and Hall, 1843. Special Collections PR4572 C47 1843


Dickens’s concern for children, their welfare, and parenting crystalized in his first Christmas book: A Christmas Carol. The genesis of the story, which features Ebenezer ‘Bah! Humbug!’ Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and the Ghosts, arose through Dickens’s desire to strike a ‘sledge-hammer blow…on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child’. And Christmas conviviality was not a new theme. He had delved into Xmas cheer at Wardles’s Manor Farm at Dingley Dell in Pickwick Papers, Part X. ‘The Ghost of Marley’ by E. N. Ellis is on display in this dramatized version of Dickens’s classic tale.

[Title page from A Christmas Carol or, The Miser's Warning. A Drama in 2 Acts adapted from Charles Dickens' Story by C. Z. Barnett. Wood engravings by E. N. Ellis.]


A Christmas Carol or, The Miser's Warning: A Drama in 2 Acts, Adapted from Charles Dickens' Story . Mission, British Columbia: Barbarian Press, 1984. Special Collections PR4066 B38 C5 1984


Dickens’s concern for children, their welfare, and parenting crystalized in his first Christmas book: A Christmas Carol. The genesis of the story, which features Ebenezer ‘Bah! Humbug!’ Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and the Ghosts, arose through Dickens’s desire to strike a ‘sledge-hammer blow…on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child’. And Christmas conviviality was not a new theme. He had delved into Xmas cheer at Wardles’s Manor Farm at Dingley Dell in Pickwick Papers, Part X. ‘The Ghost of Marley’ by E. N. Ellis is on display in this dramatized version of Dickens’s classic tale.

[The Ghost of Marley, illustration by E.N. Ellis opposite page 12 in C. Z. Barnett's A Christmas Carol, Or, The Miser’s Warning: A Drama in 2 acts, Adapted from Charles Dickens’ Story.]


A Christmas Carol, Or, The Miser’s Warning: A Drama in 2 acts, Adapted from Charles Dickens’ Story . Mission, British Columbia: Barbarian Press, 1984. Special Collections PR4066 B38 C5 1984


While the change of heart is present in The Battle of Life, there are no ghosts. Dickens wanted to make this anticipated money-spinner ‘a simple domestic tale’. With a mix of the historical – featuring a battle-field scene harking back to his visit to Waterloo – and the personal moral and emotional skirmishes surrounding sisters Marion and Grace, the book became a tough write, indeed ‘desperate work’. At the time, he was also writing Dombey and Son, and travelling back and forth between Lausanne, Paris, and London. Publishers Bradbury and Evans employed Leech, Maclise, and Richard Doyle, uncle to Arthur Conan Doyle, to illustrate this fourth Christmas book.

[Title page and frontispiece, illustrations by Daniel Maclise,  from Charles Dickens's The Battle of Life: A Love Story.]


The Battle of Life: A Love Story . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1846. Special Collections PR4572 B37 1846


Of the Times


Punch, Or the London Charivari was a magazine established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells, and jointly edited by Mayhew and Mark Lemon. Joining the Punch Brotherhood of artists who included John Leech, Richard Doyle, John Tenniel and Charles Keene, was one Charles Dickens, who in 1843, joined publishers Bradbury and Evans after leaving Chapman and Hall. Although the humour and satire in this very British weekly is now dated, it was read and enjoyed by many.

[Punch's Pencillings.- No. LIV. Illustrations of Humbug. No. 1. Illustration by John Leech from Punch, Or the London Charivari, page 213.


Punch, Or the London Charivari . London, July 1841. Storage Journals AP101 P8


François Courvoisier cut the throat of his master, Lord William Russell, and was sentenced to hang outside Newgate Prison on 6 July 1840. Dickens attended the execution along with 40,000 others, including Thackeray. Although Dickens attended four public executions during his lifetime, he disliked them as spectacles. On capital punishment, he was ambivalent, as expressed in a letter written in 1864: ‘I should be glad to abolish both [public executions and capital punishment] if I knew what to do with the Savages of civilization. As I do not, I would rid Society of them, when they shed blood, in a very solemn manner but would bar out the present audience.’ A full account of the Courvoisier case is in volume II of Chronicles of Crime (1887), which is superbly illustrated by ‘Phiz’.

[Heading from article regarding Courvoisier's hanging for murder, page 581 from Camden Pelham's The Chronicles of Crime; Or, The New Newgate Calendar.]


The Chronicles of Crime. London: T. Miles and Co., 1887. Special Collections HV6945 P443 1887


François Courvoisier cut the throat of his master, Lord William Russell, and was sentenced to hang outside Newgate Prison on 6 July 1840. Dickens attended the execution along with 40,000 others, including Thackeray. Although Dickens attended four public executions during his lifetime, he disliked them as spectacles. On capital punishment, he was ambivalent, as expressed in a letter written in 1864: ‘I should be glad to abolish both [public executions and capital punishment] if I knew what to do with the Savages of civilization. As I do not, I would rid Society of them, when they shed blood, in a very solemn manner but would bar out the present audience.’ A full account of the Courvoisier case is in volume II of Chronicles of Crime (1887), which is superbly illustrated by ‘Phiz’.

[Page 582 from Camden Pelham's The Chronicles of Crime; Or, The New Newgate Calendar. Vol. II.]


The Chronicles of Crime . London: T. Miles and Co., 1887. Special Collections HV6945 P443 1887


The Great Exhibition 1851


Another well-attended occasion was the Great Exhibition, which took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. During that time 6 million people visited the ‘Crystal Palace’, designed by Joseph Paxton. Somewhat reluctantly Dickens dragged himself along and while acknowledging the progress that the exhibits on display represented, he thought it a muddle and a major distraction from very real social problems. At the time he was disgruntled: London was ‘a vile place’; his father had died; Robert Peel had died unexpectedly, as did his own infant daughter Dora. And perhaps subconsciously he may have harboured feelings against his old fantastical rival, ‘sassage’ Albert, Victoria’s husband, to whom the triumph of the Exhibition largely belonged. The endpaper depicts the extent of the building; the catalogue is jammed full of choice exhibits.

[The VASE beneath, and the FAN-LIGHT...they exhibit several other excellent productions...Page 101 from The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue: The Industry of All Nations.]


The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue: The Industry of All Nations . London: Virtue, 1851. Special Collections T690 B1 A77


Another well-attended occasion was the Great Exhibition, which took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. During that time 6 million people visited the ‘Crystal Palace’, designed by Joseph Paxton. Somewhat reluctantly Dickens dragged himself along and while acknowledging the progress that the exhibits on display represented, he thought it a muddle and a major distraction from very real social problems. At the time he was disgruntled: London was ‘a vile place’; his father had died; Robert Peel had died unexpectedly, as did his own infant daughter Dora. And perhaps subconsciously he may have harboured feelings against his old fantastical rival, ‘sassage’ Albert, Victoria’s husband, to whom the triumph of the Exhibition largely belonged. The endpaper depicts the extent of the building; the catalogue is jammed full of choice exhibits.

[A piece of SILK, contributed by...will be found in the Exhibition...Page 100 from The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue: The Industry of All Nations.]


The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue: The Industry of All Nations. London: Virtue, 1851. Special Collections T690 B1 A77


Another well-attended occasion was the Great Exhibition, which took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. During that time 6 million people visited the ‘Crystal Palace’, designed by Joseph Paxton. Somewhat reluctantly Dickens dragged himself along and while acknowledging the progress that the exhibits on display represented, he thought it a muddle and a major distraction from very real social problems. At the time he was disgruntled: London was ‘a vile place’; his father had died; Robert Peel had died unexpectedly, as did his own infant daughter Dora. And perhaps subconsciously he may have harboured feelings against his old fantastical rival, ‘sassage’ Albert, Victoria’s husband, to whom the triumph of the Exhibition largely belonged. The endpaper depicts the extent of the building; the catalogue is jammed full of choice exhibits.

[Crystal Palace. Endpapers from Eric de Maré's London 1851: The Year of the Great Exhibition.]


London 1851: The Year of the Great Exhibition . London: Folio Society, 1972. Storage Bliss MUH D


Copperfield & Others


In the preface to the Cheap Edition of Martin Chuzzlewit, Dickens wrote: ‘My main object in the story was, to exhibit in a variety of aspects the commonest of all vices; to show how Selfishness propagates itself.’ In fact, unlike his approach to his previous works, Dickens had an overall design and unifying theme for Martin Chuzzlewit. Published in monthly parts between January 1843 and July 1844, and edited by ‘Boz’ (used for the last time), the work was then produced in book form (as displayed). The character of Pecksniff, that epitome of hypocrisy, is delineated here by ‘Phiz’.

[Mr Pecksniff on his Mission. Illustration by Phiz facing page 235 in Charles Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, 1st book edition.]


The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit . London: Chapman and Hall, 1844. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1844 D


Dickens must have been well satisfied with reader responses to Dombey and Son, which he began in Lausanne, continued in Paris, and finished in Brighton, Broadstairs and London. The first number sold 30,000, an increase over Martin Chuzzlewhit, but below sales of Nicholas Nickleby. He netted £2200 for the first six months, including his £100 per month payment from the publishers. According to the reckoning of his friend Forster, he had finally achieved financial security. Like Martin Chuzzlewhit, the book had a tight planned structure; unlike Chuzzlewhit, it dealt with the theme of pride.

[Title page and frontispiece (by Phiz) from Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son.]


Dombey and Son . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848. Special Collections PR4559 A1 1848


By his eighth novel, David Copperfield, Dickens was ready for a little more self-revelation, albeit with some difficulty in ‘dismissing some portion of himself into the shadowy world.’ David Copperfield (1850), his so-called ‘favourite child’, is the most autobiographical of his works, and is considered by scholars to be the dividing line between his early and later novels. Mirrored in the book are his Blacking Factory experiences; his early love interest with Maria Beadnell; and his early writing career. And of course there are the characters: Heep, Steerforth, Betsy Trotwood, Mr Dick, and Micawber, who is despatched to Australia. Two of Dickens’s sons lived in Australia and he contemplated a reading tour ‘down-under’. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

[I fall into captivity. Illustration by Phiz opposite page 274 in Charles Dickens's The Personal History of David Copperfield, 1st book edition, 1st issue.]


The Personal History of David Copperfield . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1850. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1850 D


The Crimean War


'Everybody is miserable…about the Crimea. I have an old belief that our Political Aristocracy will ruin this land at last, and altogether London looks gloomy.’ So wrote Dickens to Mrs Gaskell, on 3 February 1855, on the debacle that was the Crimean War (1853 to 1856), a conflict involving the Ottoman Empire, Britain, France, and Sardinia, against the Russians. While acknowledging the need for a balance of power in the area, Dickens railed against gross military and administrative incompetence; the decimation of the Light Brigade being the pinnacle of that mismanagement. To him, the War was a major distraction from the real problems at home. Alexander Kingslake’s informative volume depicts the position of the heavy cavalry, and a facsimile of Lord Cardigan’s understanding of troop positions on that fateful day (25 October 1854).

[Plate 3 by J. Jobbins in Alexander W. Kinglake's The Invasion of the Crimea Vol. IV, opposite page 152.]


The Invasion of the Crimea . Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1868. Storage Bliss 9MC K


‘Everybody is miserable…about the Crimea. I have an old belief that our Political Aristocracy will ruin this land at last, and altogether London looks gloomy.’ So wrote Dickens to Mrs Gaskell, on 3 February 1855, on the debacle that was the Crimean War (1853 to 1856), a conflict involving the Ottoman Empire, Britain, France, and Sardinia, against the Russians. While acknowledging the need for a balance of power in the area, Dickens railed against gross military and administrative incompetence; the decimation of the Light Brigade being the pinnacle of that mismanagement. To him, the War was a major distraction from the real problems at home. Alexander Kingslake’s informative volume depicts the position of the heavy cavalry, and a facsimile of Lord Cardigan’s understanding of troop positions on that fateful day (25 October 1854).

[Fold-out plate 4, Fac simile (reduced) of a Plan sketched by Lord Cardigan with a view to show... from Alexander W. Kinglake's The Invasion of the Crimea, Vol. IV.]


The Invasion of the Crimea . Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1868. Storage Bliss 9MC K


By her unceasing care of the wounded and sick in the English camps at Crimea, Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) became known as the ‘Lady of the Lamp’. Back in England, she published her reform measures in Notes on Hospitals (1859) and Notes on Nursing (1859), and in 1860 established a school for nurses at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. With her friend Elizabeth Gaskell, Nightingale endeavoured to improve the social and economic situation of those less fortunate in Britain. She knew Dickens, and distributed his books to nurses and soldiers. She also worked with him on the Committee of the Association for Improving Workhouse Infirmaries.

[Copy of a painting of Florence Nightingale, ‘The Lady of the Lamp’.]


Florence Nightingale, The Lady of the Lamp . ___, ___. No call number


Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ was written in white heat after he read of the suicidal charge by the light cavalry in the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War; 247 men of the 637 in the charge were killed or wounded. In wanting to maintain the jingoistic sentiments of the poem, Tennyson removed the line ‘Some one had blundered’. In this version – a copy from Charles Brasch’s library – the phrase has been restored. Tennyson was godfather to Dickens’s sixth child and fourth son: Alfred D’Orsay Tennyson Dickens.

[The Charge of the Light Brigade from Lord Alfred Tennyson's Poems II, page 225.]


Poems II . London: Macmillan, 1908. Brasch PR5550 1908


Selected Pastimes


During the Victorian period, the general populace poured in to watch melodramas, burlesques, comedies, and the serious in theatres and music halls up and down the country. Dickens himself loved the theatre. In fact, as a young man he secured an audition at the Covent Garden theatre to become an actor. A bad cold postponed the meeting, and the rest…as they say, is history. He wrote plays, acted in them, stage managed them, and his popular readings were but mesmerizing theatre. Doré’s illustration depicts the bright lights on the boards, but the audience seems somewhat subdued.

[Page 160 and 161 of Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold's London: A Pilgrimage.]


London: A Pilgrimage . London: Grant, 1872. Special Collections DA683 JJ7


There were amusements aplenty for London’s townfolk: boat races, dog fights, the pleasure gardens (Vauxhall and Cremorne), the zoo, museums, railway travel, concerts, opera, music halls (the Alhambra), and the circus. For those eager to extend their horse’s promenade on Rotten Row, Hyde Park, to a gallop, there was the rural sport of deer, wild boar, or fox hunting. Whether Dickens rode regularly or not, he certainly provided a memorable definition of a horse in Hard Times, using Bitzer’s response to Thomas Gradgrind: ‘Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth’.

[Page 497 and facing page from Delabere P. Blaine's An Encyclopaedia of Rural Sports, Chapter VI. Includes illustrations entitled "Gone Away! Gone Away!" and "Full Cry".]


An Encyclopaedia of Rural Sports . London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans and Roberts, 1858. Special Collections GV11 EJ68 1858


The Journals


The first number of Dickens’s periodical Household Words appeared on Saturday, 30 March 1850. This much-vaunted ‘comrade and friend of many thousands of people’ was the joint property of Dickens (one-half), publishers Bradbury and Evans (one-fourth), W. H. Hills, and John Forster (one-eighth each), and cost two pence per issue. Many of the 3000 articles were unsigned, and designed, as stated in ‘A Preliminary Word’, ‘to show to all, that in all familiar things, even in those which are repellent on the surface, there is Romance enough, if we will find it out.’ Flagging sales saw Dickens serialize Hard Times within its pages. He discontinued his ‘conducting’ of this weekly on 28 May 1859, incorporating it into All The Year Round.

[Heading of Charles Dickens's Household Words, Volume 1, page 1 dated Saturday March 30, 1850.]


Household Words . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1850. Storage Journals AP4 H68


Dickens’s George Silverman’s Explanation, a story in nine chapters, appeared in the Atlantic Monthly between January and March 1868, when Dickens was in America on a reading tour. This dark tale was one of the last pieces of fiction written by him. It carries a very bleak message: ‘the lesson that good produces evil, that virtue goes unrewarded, that hypocrisy goes undetected, and that we are all helpless prisoners of our environment and our personality’ (Harry Stone). Even Dickens was struck by it: ‘Upon myself, it has made the strongest impression of reality and originality!! And I feel as if I had read something (by somebody else) which I should never get out of my head!!’

[Page 3 featuring the Third Chapter of Charles Dickens's George Silverman's Explanation. ]


George Silverman's Explanation. California: California State University Northridge Libraries; Santa Susana Press, 1984. Special Collections PR4572 G4 1984


Dickens’s George Silverman’s Explanation, a story in nine chapters, appeared in the Atlantic Monthly between January and March 1868, when Dickens was in America on a reading tour. This dark tale was one of the last pieces of fiction written by him. It carries a very bleak message: ‘the lesson that good produces evil, that virtue goes unrewarded, that hypocrisy goes undetected, and that we are all helpless prisoners of our environment and our personality’ (Harry Stone). Even Dickens was struck by it: ‘Upon myself, it has made the strongest impression of reality and originality!! And I feel as if I had read something (by somebody else) which I should never get out of my head!!’

[Title page of Charles Dickens's George Silverman's Explanation; edited by Harry Stone; illustrated by Irving Block]


George Silverman's Explanation . California: California State University Northridge Libraries; Santa Susana Press, 1984. Special Collections PR4572 G4 1984


In 1858, Catherine and Charles Dickens legally separated. The scandal surrounding the event affected his relationship with Bradbury and Evans, who refused to publish his explanation of his separation in Punch. Annoyed, Dickens turned back to Chapman and Hall and began All The Year Round, a new weekly again priced at twopence. The first issue of 30 April 1859 carried his serialized novels A Tale of Two Cities (seen here) and Great Expectations. In later issues, works by Wilkie Collins, Bulwer Lytton, and Elizabeth Gaskell featured.

[Title page from Charles Dickens's All the Year Round, Volume 1, from April 30 to October 22 1859. Numbers 1 to 26.]


All the Year Round: A Weekly Journal . [London], 30 April – 28 November 1859. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1859 A


In 1858, Catherine and Charles Dickens legally separated. The scandal surrounding the event affected his relationship with Bradbury and Evans, who refused to publish his explanation of his separation in Punch. Annoyed, Dickens turned back to Chapman and Hall and began All The Year Round, a new weekly again priced at twopence. The first issue of 30 April 1859 carried his serialized novels A Tale of Two Cities (seen here) and Great Expectations. In later issues, works by Wilkie Collins, Bulwer Lytton, and Elizabeth Gaskell featured.

[Page 1 of Charles Dickens's All the Year Round, Number 1, Saturday April 30, 1859. ]


All the Year Round . London, 30 April – 28 November 1859. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1859 A


Mid-50s


In 1850, the Times began publishing articles exposing the Court of Chancery, and the quagmire-like delays and proceedings inherent in the legal system. Here was Dickens’s opportunity. In Bleak House, his ninth novel, he attacked the abuses in the Courts, and continued his portrayal of London slums. Again ‘Phiz’ (Dickens’s ‘cher Brune’) illustrated the novel, which among others featured Esther Summerson, Mrs Jellyby, Krook (who dies by spontaneous combustion), Jo, and Sir Leicester Dedlock. The first instalment of 25,000 copies sold out and had to be reprinted; Dickens himself wrote: ‘It is an enormous success’. On display is the first printing of the first book edition, which sold for one guinea (£1 1s).

[Title page and frontispiece with illustrations by Hablot Knight Browne from Charles Dickens's Bleak House. 1st book edition, 1st printing. ]


Bleak House . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1853. Special Collections PR4556 A1 1853


‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root everything else.’ So begins Dickens’s Hard Times (1854), a work with its subtitle: For These Times. With his satiric swipe at industrialism, James Mill’s Utilitarianism, and the national obsession with the ‘science’ of Political Economy (measuring everything by facts, figures, and averages), Dickens confirmed to his friend Carlyle, to whom the work was dedicated: ‘I know it contains nothing in which you do not think with me.’ There were no illustrations to Hard Times, Dickens’s shortest novel.

[Page 4 and 5 of Charles Dickens's Hard Times. For These Times.]


Hard Times. For These Times . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1854. Special Collections PR4561 A1 1854


Hablot Browne’s cartoon on the top of the first part of Little Dorrit depicts a procession of decrepit, fool-like individuals, including a dozing Britannia. The image matches Dickens’s satiric attack in the book on the ruling class and their ineptitude. His famed Circumlocution Office highlights well civil service bureaucracy and incompetence. His strong feelings against imprisonment for debt also allowed use of the Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison, where ‘heroine’ Amy Dorrit was born, and her delusional father William is the longest serving inmate. Arthur Clennam, a guilt-ridden ‘anti-hero’, is determined to rescue Amy from her plight. Originally titled Nobody’s Fault, Little Dorrit was the last of Dickens’s novels issued by Bradbury and Evans. Note Amy’s ‘sunny’ appearance on the title-page.

[Cover of the first part of Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit, December 1855. ]


Little Dorrit . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1855. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1857 D


Hablot Browne’s cartoon on the top of the first part of Little Dorrit depicts a procession of decrepit, fool-like individuals, including a dozing Britannia. The image matches Dickens’s satiric attack in the book on the ruling class and their ineptitude. His famed Circumlocution Office highlights well civil service bureaucracy and incompetence. His strong feelings against imprisonment for debt also allowed use of the Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison, where ‘heroine’ Amy Dorrit was born, and her delusional father William is the longest serving inmate. Arthur Clennam, a guilt-ridden ‘anti-hero’, is determined to rescue Amy from her plight. Originally titled Nobody’s Fault, Little Dorrit was the last of Dickens’s novels issued by Bradbury and Evans. Note Amy’s ‘sunny’ appearance on the title-page.

[Title page and frontispiece with illustrations by Hablot Knight Browne from Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit. 1st book edition.]


Little Dorrit . London: Bradbury and Evans, 1857. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1857 D


Dickens as Traveller


Dickens made two trips to America; the first between January and June 1842, and the second between November 1867 and April 1868. American Notes, a mix of sketches and travelogue, was the outcome of his first visit. Not gun-shy, Dickens made disparaging comments on their corrupt political system, slavery, their press, and even the habit of spitting in public. His advocacy for an international copyright agreement between Britain and the United States which would prevent the pirating of books further outraged some American readers. Despite adverse reviews, American Notes is an amusing read, especially with the dialogues concocted of people he met along the way. They are crafted in his own inimitable style.

[Illustration by Arthur A. Dixon opposite page 80 from Charles Dickens's American Notes.]


American Notes . London; Glasgow: Collins’ Clear-Type Press, [189-?]. Truby King Collection PR4572 A43 1890


Dickens made two trips to America; the first between January and June 1842, and the second between November 1867 and April 1868. American Notes, a mix of sketches and travelogue, was the outcome of his first visit. Not gun-shy, Dickens made disparaging comments on their corrupt political system, slavery, their press, and even the habit of spitting in public. His advocacy for an international copyright agreement between Britain and the United States which would prevent the pirating of books further outraged some American readers. Despite adverse reviews, American Notes is an amusing read, especially with the dialogues concocted of people he met along the way. They are crafted in his own inimitable style.

[Page 190-191 from Charles Dickens's American Notes and Pictures from Italy.]


American Notes and Pictures from Italy . London: Oxford University Press, 1957. Central PR4572 A45


Dickens made two trips to America; the first between January and June 1842, and the second between November 1867 and April 1868. American Notes, a mix of sketches and travelogue, was the outcome of his first visit. Not gun-shy, Dickens made disparaging comments on their corrupt political system, slavery, their press, and even the habit of spitting in public. His advocacy for an international copyright agreement between Britain and the United States which would prevent the pirating of books further outraged some American readers. Despite adverse reviews, American Notes is an amusing read, especially with the dialogues concocted of people he met along the way. They are crafted in his own inimitable style.

[Title page and frontispiece from Charles Dickens's American Notes and Pictures from Italy.]


American Notes and Pictures from Italy . London: Oxford University Press, 1957. Central PR4572 A45


Dickens made two trips to America; the first between January and June 1842, and the second between November 1867 and April 1868. American Notes, a mix of sketches and travelogue, was the outcome of his first visit. Not gun-shy, Dickens made disparaging comments on their corrupt political system, slavery, their press, and even the habit of spitting in public. His advocacy for an international copyright agreement between Britain and the United States which would prevent the pirating of books further outraged some American readers. Despite adverse reviews, American Notes is an amusing read, especially with the dialogues concocted of people he met along the way. They are crafted in his own inimitable style.

[Title page and frontispiece illustration by Arthur A. Dixon from Charles Dickens's American Notes.]


American Notes . London; Glasgow: Collins’ Clear-Type Press, [189-?]. Truby King Collection PR4572 A43 1890


Dickens began his career as a professional reader in 1858, after many private readings to family, friends, and charity groups. For each performance he condensed the text, with ‘The Trial from Pickwick’ being the most popular at 164 readings; ‘A Christmas Carol’ was performed 127 times. And much like Miriam Margolyes’s ‘Dickens’s Women’, his was a one-person show, where he played different characters in different voices. Some scholars have suggested that the strain of these performances hastened his death.

[Copy of an engraving of Charles Dickens at his reading desk for his final performance on 15 March 1870. ]


Charles Dickens at his reading desk. . ___, 1870. No call number


For one year, from July 1844 to July 1845, Dickens and his family lived in Genoa. Based on letters to his friend Forster, Pictures from Italy describes the travels in the ‘good old shabby devil of a coach’ through France, and then to Genoa via Marseilles. While residing in an Albaro villa, and then ‘Palazzo Peschiere’, he also visited Venice, Naples, Rome (the Colosseum: ‘most stupendous and awful’), Pisa, and Pompeii, where he climbed Mt. Vesuvius and looked ‘into the flaming bowels of the mountain’. Conscious of charges of anti-Catholicism, he reminded readers that Pictures from Italy was ‘a series of faint reflections – mere shadows in the water.’ Here are the first Bradbury and first Tauchnitz editions of 1846.

 


Pictures from Italy . London: Published for the Author by Bradbury and Evans, Whitefriars, 1846. Special Collections DG426 DH89


For one year, from July 1844 to July 1845, Dickens and his family lived in Genoa. Based on letters to his friend Forster, Pictures from Italy describes the travels in the ‘good old shabby devil of a coach’ through France, and then to Genoa via Marseilles. While residing in an Albaro villa, and then ‘Palazzo Peschiere’, he also visited Venice, Naples, Rome (the Colosseum: ‘most stupendous and awful’), Pisa, and Pompeii, where he climbed Mt. Vesuvius and looked ‘into the flaming bowels of the mountain’. Conscious of charges of anti-Catholicism, he reminded readers that Pictures from Italy was ‘a series of faint reflections – mere shadows in the water.’ Here are the first Bradbury and first Tauchnitz editions of 1846.

Pictures from Italy . Leipzig: Bernh. Tauchnitz Jun. , 1846. Brasch DG426 DH89 1846


For one year, from July 1844 to July 1845, Dickens and his family lived in Genoa. Based on letters to his friend Forster, Pictures from Italy describes the travels in the ‘good old shabby devil of a coach’ through France, and then to Genoa via Marseilles. While residing in an Albaro villa, and then ‘Palazzo Peschiere’, he also visited Venice, Naples, Rome (the Colosseum: ‘most stupendous and awful’), Pisa, and Pompeii, where he climbed Mt. Vesuvius and looked ‘into the flaming bowels of the mountain’. Conscious of charges of anti-Catholicism, he reminded readers that Pictures from Italy was ‘a series of faint reflections – mere shadows in the water.’ Here are the first Bradbury and first Tauchnitz editions of 1846.

[Page 10 and 11 of Charles Dickens's Pictures from Italy.]


Pictures from Italy. Leipzig: Bernh. Tauchnitz, Jun., 1846. Brasch DG426 DH89 1846


For one year, from July 1844 to July 1845, Dickens and his family lived in Genoa. Based on letters to his friend Forster, Pictures from Italy describes the travels in the ‘good old shabby devil of a coach’ through France, and then to Genoa via Marseilles. While residing in an Albaro villa, and then ‘Palazzo Peschiere’, he also visited Venice, Naples, Rome (the Colosseum: ‘most stupendous and awful’), Pisa, and Pompeii, where he climbed Mt. Vesuvius and looked ‘into the flaming bowels of the mountain’. Conscious of charges of anti-Catholicism, he reminded readers that Pictures from Italy was ‘a series of faint reflections – mere shadows in the water.’ Here are the first Bradbury and first Tauchnitz editions of 1846.

Pictures from Italy . London: Published for the Author by Bradbury and Evans, Whitefriars, 1846. Special Collections DG426 DH89


The Final Flourish


Great Expectations first appeared in 36-weekly parts in Dickens’s All The Year Round (1 December 1860 to 3 August 1861) and was not illustrated. However, the earlier and almost parallel first American printing was. Appearing in Harper’s Weekly (24 November 1860 to 3 August 1861) their Great Expectations carried 40 illustrations by John McLenan, the so-called ‘American Phiz’. Another point of difference was that the first American book edition (1861) carried Dickens’s pen-name ‘Boz’, which he had stopped using in 1844. Like the earlier David Copperfield, Great Expectations is strongly autobiographical, and mirrors many aspects of Dickens’s life. The ‘led/lead’ reference on display is just one bibliographical difference that helps distinguish between first, second, and later printings.

Great Expectations . Chapman and Hall, 1861. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1861 D


Great Expectations first appeared in 36-weekly parts in Dickens’s All The Year Round (1 December 1860 to 3 August 1861) and was not illustrated. However, the earlier and almost parallel first American printing was. Appearing in Harper’s Weekly (24 November 1860 to 3 August 1861) their Great Expectations carried 40 illustrations by John McLenan, the so-called ‘American Phiz’. Another point of difference was that the first American book edition (1861) carried Dickens’s pen-name ‘Boz’, which he had stopped using in 1844. Like the earlier David Copperfield, Great Expectations is strongly autobiographical, and mirrors many aspects of Dickens’s life. The ‘led/lead’ reference on display is just one bibliographical difference that helps distinguish between first, second, and later printings.

[Page 150 and 151 from Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, 1st edition, Volume III, Chapter X. ]


Great Expectations . London: Chapman and Hall, 1861. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1861 D


The death of his mother; the death of Thackeray; the finishing of Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings and The Uncommercial Traveller, and house hunting (57 Gloucester Place), were events that occurred around the time Dickens was writing Our Mutual Friend, his fourteenth and last completed novel. It was a difficult book to write. The Staplehurst rail crash of 9 June 1865 did not help. While ministering to the injured in this tragedy, Dickens managed to clamber back on the train and rescue the manuscript of Our Mutual Friend. He was not injured, but he did feel ‘quite shattered and broken up’. Our Mutual Friend was published in parts, the first selling 35,000 copies. There was a major difference to this work about greed: the illustrations were by Marcus Stone, rather than by ‘Phiz’. This is the first book edition.

[Frontispiece illustration by Marcus Stone and title page from Volume II of Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend.]


Our Mutual Friend . London: Chapman and Hall, 1865. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1865 D


Dickens died on 9 June 1870 as he worked on the final pages of the sixth instalment of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This incomplete novel, with no solution to the plot, has meant that Edwin Drood is one of the best unfinished mystery stories in literature. Even Dickens raised questions with his note on the title: ‘Dead? Or Alive?’ Over the years many have offered endings, including Howard Duffield’s proposal that John Jasper was associated with the Thugee cult of Kali and the murder was a ritual killing for revenge. Charles Alston Collins, brother of Wilkie, designed the cover for the parts. The illustrations within were done by Luke Fildes, who passed Dickens’s test of being able to paint ‘pretty ladies’. The perceptive Wilkie Collins described Edwin Drood as ‘the melancholy effort of a worn-out brain.’ The complete parts and the first book edition are on display.

[Cover of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Number 1, April 1870.]


The Mystery of Edwin Drood . London: Chapman and Hall, 1870. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1870 D


Dickens died on 9 June 1870 as he worked on the final pages of the sixth instalment of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This incomplete novel, with no solution to the plot, has meant that Edwin Drood is one of the best unfinished mystery stories in literature. Even Dickens raised questions with his note on the title: ‘Dead? Or Alive?’ Over the years many have offered endings, including Howard Duffield’s proposal that John Jasper was associated with the Thugee cult of Kali and the murder was a ritual killing for revenge. Charles Alston Collins, brother of Wilkie, designed the cover for the parts. The illustrations within were done by Luke Fildes, who passed Dickens’s test of being able to paint ‘pretty ladies’. The perceptive Wilkie Collins described Edwin Drood as ‘the melancholy effort of a worn-out brain.’ The complete parts and the first book edition are on display.

[The Mystery of Edwin Drood Chapter 1- The Dawn (right) and illustration by Samuel Luke Fildes opposite entitled In the Court from Charles Dickens's The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 1st edition.]


The Mystery of Edwin Drood. London: Chapman and Hall, 1870. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1870 D


Influence and Legacy


From the Black Rocks first appeared in May 1862 in Dickens’s All the Year Round. The 1950 ‘new’ edition on display was published by A. H. Reed, who was curious as to who wrote it. The story concerns ‘Henry’, a clergyman living among Ngapuhi and his subsequent shipwreck on an island. Thinking that the tale was based on a true story, Reed enquired at the Church Missionary Societies in New Zealand and London as to who ‘Henry’ was. He had no success. However, Ian Church, a local Dunedin historian, has his own theory, suggesting that John White, interpreter and author of The Ancient History of the Maori (1887-1890), wrote the story. Arriving from Scotland in 1834, White (1826-1891) settled near his uncle, a Wesleyan missionary, in the Hokianga. White apparently admired Dickens very much and called his Auckland home ‘Dingley Dell’. Is the question of who was the author still open?

[Title page and frontispiece in From The Black Rocks, On Friday, edited (or written?) by Charles Dickens, with an introduction by A. H. Reed.]


Charles Dickens and His Island and From The Black Rocks, On Friday and Gold Digger's Notes . Wellington: Reed for Dunedin Public Library Association, [1950]. Special Collections PR4573 FX35 1950


From the Black Rocks first appeared in May 1862 in Dickens’s All the Year Round. The 1950 ‘new’ edition on display was published by A. H. Reed, who was curious as to who wrote it. The story concerns ‘Henry’, a clergyman living among Ngapuhi and his subsequent shipwreck on an island. Thinking that it was the tale was based on a true story, Reed enquired at the Church Missionary Societies in New Zealand and London as to who ‘Henry’ was. He had no success. However, Ian Church, a local Dunedin historian, has his own theory, suggesting that John White, interpreter and author of The Ancient History of the Maori (1887-1890), wrote the story. Arriving from Scotland in 1834, White (1826-1891) settled near his uncle, a Wesleyan missionary, in the Hokianga. White apparently admired Dickens very much and called his Auckland home ‘Dingley Dell’. Is the question of who was the author still open?

[From the Black Rocks, On Friday,  page 232 and 233 from All the Year Round May 17, 1862. Conducted by Charles Dickens.]


All the Year Round . London: Chapman and Hall, 1862. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1859 A


There has been an enormous amount of scholarship regarding Dickens and his works since his death in 1870. Founded in 1970 on the 100th anniversary of his death, the Dickens Studies Annual is an important vehicle for articles and reviews about this celebrated nineteenth-century writer. Leslie Simon’s ‘Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, and the Aesthetics of Dust’ is one recent article. Occasional pieces on other nineteenth-century authors also feature.

[Cover of Dickens Studies Annual: Essays on Victorian Fiction, Volume 42. ]


Dickens Studies Annual: Essays on Victorian Fiction . New York: AMS Press, Inc., 2011. Central Journal PR4579 D522 v. 42 2011


The works of Charles Dickens were translated into Russian from the 1840s onwards. Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) first encountered Dickens in Russian and French translations, and managed to read the novels while in exile in Siberia (1850-54). Dostoevsky – who called himself ‘Mr Micawber’ – may have met Dickens while visiting London in 1862. He certainly admired the English writer for his realism, characterisation and psychological insights, and comparisons have been made, for example, the similarities of character traits between John Harmon in Our Mutual Friend and Prince Myshkin in The Idiot. While there is much of Dickens in Dostoevsky, the influence is perhaps more pervasive: ‘the mark of Dickens is everywhere in Russian fiction’ (Lary).

The Idiot . Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, [1955]. Brasch PG3326 I3 1955


George Gissing (1857-1903) was considered by some as one of the foremost English novelists of his time, along with George Meredith and Thomas Hardy. As an author, Gissing was hugely inspired by Dickens and had a great respect for the man and his works. He first read The Old Curiosity Shop when he was ten, and he continued to read Dickens with ‘wonder, delight, admiration and love’ throughout his lifetime. In his seminal Charles Dickens: A Critical Study, Gissing describes Dickens as ‘one who desired radical changes, in the direction of giving liberty and voice to the majority of the people’.

[Page 234 and 235 from George Gissing's Charles Dickens: A Critical Study. ]


Charles Dickens: A Critical Study. London: The Gresham Publishing Company, 1903. Storage PR4588 GH43


The works of Charles Dickens were translated into Russian from the 1840s onwards. Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) first encountered Dickens in Russian and French translations, and managed to read the novels while in exile in Siberia (1850-54). Dostoevsky – who called himself ‘Mr Micawber’ – may have met Dickens while visiting London in 1862. He certainly admired the English writer for his realism, characterisation and psychological insights, and comparisons have been made, for example, the similarities of character traits between John Harmon in Our Mutual Friend and Prince Myshkin in The Idiot. While there is much of Dickens in Dostoevsky, the influence is perhaps more pervasive: ‘the mark of Dickens is everywhere in Russian fiction’ (Lary).

Dostoevsky and Dickens: A Study of Literary Influence . London, Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973. Central PG3328 Z6 LA43


G. K. Chesterton’s 1906 biography of Dickens contributed to a revival in the appreciation of Dickens’s works. He prophesied (rightly so it seems) that amongst his contemporaries, Dickens would become the dominant figure of nineteenth-century literature. Movement was slow, and up until the 1920s and 30s, many literati thought Dickens’s works ‘vulgar’ and sentimental. And then the advocates arrived. George Bernard Shaw praised Dickens as ‘one of the greatest writers of all time’; the American critic Edmund Wilson called Dickens ‘a great artist and social critic’; and George Orwell commended Dickens on his unparalleled ability to set a scene visually, as well as describing him as a ‘rebel’ and ‘a national institution’. New and positive re-evaluations followed. Orwell’s essay is on display.

[Page 8 and 9 from George Orwell's Critical Essays.]


Critical Essays . London: Secker and Warburg, 1946. Special Collections PR6029 R8 A16 1946


Founded in London in 1902, the Dickens Fellowship has become a worldwide organisation which includes branches in Japan, Denmark and India. The Melbourne and Christchurch branches began in 1904 and 1931 respectively. The Fellowship publishes its own journal, The Dickensian, and the 106th Annual Conference of the International Dickens Fellowship was held in Portsmouth, England in August of this year. Dickens’s works are still well-loved; his legacy lives on.

[Cover of the Christchurch Dickens Fellowship: The Bi-Centenary Luncheon. Charles Dickens: Celebrating 200 Years, 1812-2012. Kindly supplied by Esme Richards, Christchurch.]


Christchurch Dickens Fellowship: The Bi-Centenary Luncheon. . The Christchurch Dickens Fellowship, 2012. No call number


Founded in London in 1902, the Dickens Fellowship has become a worldwide organisation which includes branches in Japan, Denmark and India. The Melbourne and Christchurch branches began in 1904 and 1931 respectively. The Fellowship publishes its own journal, The Dickensian, and the 106th Annual Conference of the International Dickens Fellowship was held in Portsmouth, England in August of this year. Dickens’s works are still well-loved; his legacy lives on.

[Cover of The Christchurch Dickens Fellowship 2012-2013 Syllabus. Kindly supplied by Esme Richards, Christchurch. ]


The Christchurch Dickens Fellowship . The Christchurch Dickens Fellowship, 2012. No call number


Founded in London in 1902, the Dickens Fellowship has become a worldwide organisation which includes branches in Japan, Denmark and India. The Melbourne and Christchurch branches began in 1904 and 1931 respectively. The Fellowship publishes its own journal, The Dickensian, and the 106th Annual Conference of the International Dickens Fellowship was held in Portsmouth, England in August of this year. Dickens’s works are still well-loved; his legacy lives on.

[Cover of Dickens Down Under. The occasional newsletter of the Christchurch Dickens Fellowship. Issue 92, May 2012. Edited by Jeni Curtis and Esme Richards. Kindly supplied by Esme Richards.]


Dickens Down Under . The Christchurch Dickens Fellowship, 2012. No call number


Founded in London in 1902, the Dickens Fellowship has become a worldwide organisation which includes branches in Japan, Denmark and India. The Melbourne and Christchurch branches began in 1904 and 1931 respectively. The Fellowship publishes its own journal, The Dickensian, and the 106th Annual Conference of the International Dickens Fellowship was held in Portsmouth, England in August of this year. Dickens’s works are still well-loved; his legacy lives on.

[Cover of The Dickens Newsletter, Melbourne. Issue number 326, February 2012. 200th Birthday Issue. Kindly supplied by Lucy Neales, Melbourne.]


The Dickens Newsletter . Dickens Fellowship, Melbourne, February, 2012. No call number


Founded in London in 1902, the Dickens Fellowship has become a worldwide organisation which includes branches in Japan, Denmark and India. The Melbourne and Christchurch branches began in 1904 and 1931 respectively. The Fellowship publishes its own journal, The Dickensian, and the 106th Annual Conference of the International Dickens Fellowship was held in Portsmouth, England in August of this year. Dickens’s works are still well-loved; his legacy lives on.

[Cover of The Dickens Newsletter from the Dickens Fellowship Melbourne. Issue number 327, March 2012, kindly supplied by Lucy Neales, Melbourne. ]


The Dickens Newsletter . Melbourne Dickens Fellowship , March 2012. No call number


The Dunedin Public Library held its exhibition of Dickens earlier this year, just one of the many exhibitions held to honour Dickens in the 200th anniversary year of his birth. The library has a large collection of Dickensiana thanks to A. H. Reed, who greatly admired the writer and assiduously collected his works. Chapter One. I am Born: 200 Years of Charles Dickens exhibition booklet, 2012. Kindly supplied by Anthony Tedeschi, Heritage Collections, Dunedin Public Library

Chapter One. I Am Born: 200 Years of Charles Dickens. . Heritage Collections, Dunedin Public Library, 2012. No call number


Supplementary


Looking suspiciously like Father Christmas, the Ghost of Christmas Present is Ebenezer Scrooge’s third visitor in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

[Scrooge's Third Visitor. An illustration by John Leech from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. ]


A Christmas Carol . London: Chapman and Hall, 1843. Special Collections PR 4572 C47 1843


‘Dear, gentle, patient, noble Nell’ dies in Dickens’s tale The Old Curiosity Shop, which caused much consternation and many tears to be shed by readers. This plate was executed by George Cattermole (1800-1868).

[At Rest (The Death of Little Nell). Illustration by George Cattermole from Charles Dickens's Master Humphrey’s Clock. Volume II.]


The Old Curiosity Shop in Master Humphrey’s Clock. London: Chapman and Hall, 1840-1841. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1840 D


George Cruikshank illustrated Dickens’s Oliver Twist. In this plate, Oliver Twist has just been shot by Mr Giles, the butler, in the bungled burglary of the Maylie home. Mr Brittles stands beside Mr Giles and Bill Sikes looks on through the window.

[The Burglary by George Cruikshank, frontispiece from Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist; or the Parish Boy’s Progress. ]


Oliver Twist . London: Richard Bentley, 1838. Special Collections de Beer Eb 1838 D v.2



The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Charles Dickens, London: Chapman and Hall. 1839


This coloured plate by Peter Palette (pseudonym for Thomas Onwhyn), from Dickens’s The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, shows Wackford Squeers admonishing one of his unfortunate charges.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby . London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Special Collections PR4565 A1 1839


Mr Squeers by Thomas Onwhyn from Charles Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby . London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Special Collections PR4565 A1 1839


Colour plate by Peter Palette (pseudonym for Thomas Onwhyn) from Charles Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Special Collections PR4565 A1 1839


Colour plate by Peter Palette (pseudonym for Thomas Onwhyn) from Charles Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby . London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Special Collections PR4565 A1 1839


Reproduced from Claire Tomalin’s Charles Dickens: A Life, this map shows various places in Central London associated with Dickens. Note Warren’s Blacking Factory, in the bottom right-hand corner, where Dickens worked as a twelve year old; and Coldbath Field Prison, in the top right-hand corner, where Dickens was a frequent visitor, though obviously not as an inmate.

[Dickens in Central London in Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens: A Life.]


Charles Dickens: A Life . New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Central PR4581 TM71


Colour plate by Peter Palette (pseudonym for Thomas Onwhyn) from Charles Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Special Collections PR4565 A1 1839


Colour plate by Peter Palette (pseudonym for Thomas Onwhyn) from Charles Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Special Collections PR4565 A1 1839


Cartoon of Dickens, astride the Channel, drawn by André Gill, first published in L'Eclipse in 1868.

Charles Dickens . ___, 1868. No call number


Portrait of Charles Dickens's in his book The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby . London: Chapman and Hall, 1839. Special Collections PR4565 A1 1839


Langley and Belch published their London map in 1812, the year of Dickens’s birth. The City of London is highlighted in pink, and placed around the outer frame are vignettes that feature well-known London landmarks.

[Langley and Belch’s New Map of London (facsimile).]


Langley and Belch's New Map of London . London: Langley and Belch, 1812. Special Collections


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