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What the Dickens

F.S. Schwarzbach, 5 April 1990

The Letters of Charles Dickens. Vol. VI: 1850-1852 
edited by Graham Storey, Kathleen Tillotson and Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 909 pp., £80, June 1988, 0 19 812617 4
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... On 25 May 1851 Dickens wrote no fewer than 11 letters – or perhaps it is better to say that 11 of those he wrote have survived. Several were only a line or two, declining an invitation to a public dinner at the Royal Literary Fund, thanking a theatre manager for the use of the stage for rehearsals of his amateur players, and the like. But most were substantial: a few involved business relating to the Guild of Literature and Art, a sort of union and mutual aid society for authors that Dickens was then busy launching; one thanked a Sheffield firm (innocently mentioned in David Copperfield) for the gift of a set of knives; another attempted to patch up his lapsed friendship with George Cruikshank, who had probably been offended by Dickens’s attacks on his temperance pamphlets; another was a long, newsy report to a Swiss friend he hadn’t seen in years and one more thanked a Scottish author for sending a book of literary lectures ...

Martin Chuzzlewig

John Sutherland, 15 October 1987

Dickens’s Working Notes for his Novels 
edited by Harry Stone.
Chicago, 393 pp., £47.95, July 1987, 0 226 14590 5
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... interest in the working notes as a royal road to Dickensian interpretation. This was followed by Kathleen Tillotson and John Butt’s Dickens at Work (1957), and by the same authors’ ‘Clarendon’ Dickens project, which enshrined a full transcription of the working notes as essential editorial apparatus. If archaeology into the substrata of ...

Big Bad Wolfe

John Sutherland, 18 February 1988

The Bonfire of the Vanities 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 659 pp., £11.95, February 1988, 0 224 02439 6
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... As interesting is Wolfe’s rediscovery of basic tricks of the Victorian writing trade. As Kathleen Tillotson notes in Novels of the 1840s, one of the principal problems for serialists like Dickens and Thackeray was writing to the ‘two unities’ of the part and the whole. It was not something easily mastered and, to be honest, Wolfe in his ...

A Little Local Irritation

Stephen Wall: Dickens, 16 April 1998

The Letters of Charles Dickens. Vol. IX: 1859-61 
edited by Graham Storey.
Oxford, 610 pp., £70, July 1997, 0 19 812293 4
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... edition. As each volume appears (the first came out in 1965) the stature of the scholarship of Kathleen Tillotson, Graham Storey and their collaborators becomes more impressive. There are over a thousand letters in Volume IX alone, and the picture they offer of Dickens’s activities during the three years the book covers is more various than a ...

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