Life of Charles Dickens


R. Shelton Mackenzie

Series: Distinguished Men and Women of Science, Medicine and the Arts
BISAC: BIO007000

It has been stated that ‘Charles Dickens began life as a lawyer, got tired of the dull routine, and turned to literature.’ This is erroneous, for he never had even a chance of becoming a lawyer, ƒ{ either in the higher grade of outer barrister, or ‘counsel learned in the law,’ or in the lower, but often more lucrative, class of attorney. As stated in the book, this work attempts to provide an accurate sketch of Charles Dickens¡¦ literary and personal history ¡X stating plain facts, introducing some of his correspondence never before printed, and adding such anecdotes and traits of character to illustrate his double position as a Man of Letters and Man of the People. Within this work, the admiration of the ability of the necessarily rapid tributes to the genius and worth of Mr. Dickens is expressed, which appeared in the American newspapers.
In the most aristocratic country in the world, Charles Dickens stood, not merely among but above all his contemporaries as a Man of the People. Scott, Bulwer, Macaulay, Thackeray, and others who taught great truths through the press, either were of high family descent or had received the best education that Universities could bestow. Their writings are crowded with references to the classic authors of their youth. Dickens, son of an obscure Government clerk, whose pedigree no one has cared to trace, received only such an education as, free of cost, every State in our Union bestows upon its children. It has been argued by great scholars, that Shakespeare was familiar not only with classical but modern European literature; but Dickens was master of one language ¡X that which is spoken, not alone in his island-home, but in Asia, in Australia, and most of all, in our United States. He knew, and was proud in the knowledge, that for every one reader he had at home, there were fifty here.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Lesson of His Life and Writings – Character of His Genius – Ancestry – John Dickens, the Government Clerk – His Family – Removal to London – Newspaper Reporter – Micawber and Mrs. Nickleby – Charles Dickens¡¦s Education – Truth in Fiction – Rochester Visited by the Pickwickians ¡V Watts¡¦s Hospital – Cloisterham ¡V Gad¡¦s Hill

Chapter 2. English Lawyers – Articled Clerks – Short-Hand Writing – Dickens as a Reporter – Mirror of Parliament – True Sun – Morning Chronicle – First Authorship – Writing the ¡§Sketches¡¨ – John Black, Our Old-Time Editor – Recollections by N. P. Willis – Publisher

Chapter 3. The Origin of the Name of ¡§Boz¡¨ – Variety of the ¡§Sketches¡¨ – Epigram – The Demosthenes of the Tap – Old Bailey Characters – Fagin and the Artful Dodger Shadowed Forth – Bumble and Mrs. Gamp ¡V Cruikshank¡¦s Illustrations – The Countess and the Publisher

Chapter 4. First Laurels Won – How the ¡§Pickwick Papers¡¨ Were Begun – The Shilling Number System – Green Paper Covers ¡V Lever and Thackeray – Mr. Sergeant Talfourd – Copyright – Proposed Nimrod Club – Mr. Pickwick Found at Richmond ¡V Reception of Pickwick – Introduction of Sam Weller – Author and Publishers – Bulwer – The Great Literary Reviews – Miss Mitford¡¦s Criticism – Scott and Dickens – What Pickwick Has Done – In a Pickwickian Sense – Lady Jersey¡¦s Sam Weller¡¦ s Ball

Chapter 5. ¡§The Wits¡¦ Miscellany¡¨ – Dickens Edits Bentley¡¦s – Douglas Jerrold ¡V Artists and Authors ¡V Dickens¡¦ Contributions – Oliver Twist – Purpose and Moral – Author¡¦s Law – Fagin¡¦s Conviction ¡V Jacob¡¦s Island – Dramatic Versions

Chapter 6. Publications Unavowed or Forgotten – Sunday in London – The Poor Men¡¦s Sunday Dinner – Sketches of Young Ladies and of Young Gentlemen – Memoirs of Grimaldi – The Pic-Nic Papers – Thomas Moore¡¦s Prose and Verse – Dramatic Performances: The Strange Gentleman, Village Coquettes, Is She His Wife? – Amateur Acting – Author¡¦s Readings

Chapter 7. Marriage – George Hogarth – A Compliment from Lockhart – Dickens a Man of Method- The Misses Hogarth – Fanny Hogarth¡¦s Sudden Death – Publication Suspended – Mr. Dickens Interviewed – ¡§Young Bozzes¡¨

Chapter 8. Retires from Bentley¡¦s Miscellany – Retrospect – Yorkshire Schools – Picks up John Browdie and Wackford Squeers – Nicholas Nickleby – Dotheboys Hall – The Crummles Party – Cheeryble Brothers – Change of Plot – Authorship Avowed – Portrait by Maclise – Nickleby on the Parisian Stage – Mr. Thackeray and Jules Janin – Continuation of Nickleby – Troops of Friends

Chapter 9. Master Humphrey¡¦s Clock – Its Proposed Object – Illustrations – The Works ¡V Author¡¦s Confession – Mr. Pickwick and the Wellers Revived – The Precocious Grandson – Old Curiosity Shop – Little Nell – Thomas Hood – Barnaby Rudge – Riots of London – The Raven – Lord Jeffrey – Dinner at Edinburgh – Christopher North – Public Speaking

Chapter 10. Visit to America – At Boston ¡V Dickens¡¦s Dinner – Geoffrey Crayon and Boz – Dickens at Sunnyside – In Philadelphia – Washington – In Congress

Chapter 11. American Notes for General Circulation – Pickwick Readings at a White-Smith¡¦s – Reception of the Notes in England – Other Tourists – Change for the Notes – Lord Jeffrey¡¦s Opinion – Martin Chuzzlewit – Crusade against Selfishness – English Criticisms – Christmas Carol and Its Followers – Journey to Italy

Chapter 12. Relations with Artists – George Cruikshank – Tom and Jerry – How Oliver Twist Was Brought to London – Re-Purchasing Copyrights – Robert Seymour¡¦s Sketches – Succeeded by ¡§Phiz¡¨ – The Author¡¦s Last History op Pickwick – The Palazzo Peschiere in Genoa – Kind Dealings with an Artist – Unpublished Letter from Charles Dickens

Chapter 13. Visit to Italy and Switzerland – Editorship of Daily News – London Newspapers ¡V Pictures from Italy – Return to Switzerland – Dombey and Son – Lord Jeffrey on the Death of Little Paul

Chapter 14. Originals of Fictitious Characters – Old Weller and Miss Huddart – Mr. Tracy Tupman and The Fat Boy – Mrs. Bardell – Mr. Justice Stareleigh – Mr. Sergeant Buzfuz – Dodson and Fogg – Mr. Perker – Police Magistrate Fang – Vincent Crummles – W. T. Moncrieff – Cheeryble Brothers – Daniel Grant¡¦s Dinner-Pegs – Mrs. Nickleby – Sir John Chester – Alderman Cute – Mr. Dombey – Perch – Sol. Gills – Captain Cuttle – Wilkins Micawber – Esther Summerson – Mr. Boythorn and Little Nell – Inspector Bucket – Carlavero¡¦s Englishman – Mr. Julius Slinkton

Chapter 15. Letter-Writing – Epistolatory Mendicants – A Note from Yorkshire – Mr. Ewart – A Slow Binder – Master Humphrey¡¦s ¡§Works¡¨ ¡V Talfourd¡¦s Post-Prandial Reading – Letters to Talfourd, Frank Stone, and Mackenzie – Mammoth Journals – The Moon Hoax – Lord Nugent

Chapter 16. Poetry in Prose ¡V Thackeray¡¦s Opinion – Rythmical Language – Examples from Southey, Shelley, and Dickens – Little Nell¡¦s Funeral – Lesson of Death to Life ¡V Smike¡¦s Grave-Stone – Niagara – Hymn of the Laborers – A Word in Season

Chapter 17. Little Dorrit – The Circumlocution Office – Hard Times – Tale of Two Cities – Great Expectations – New Christmas Stories- Our Mutual Friend – Amende to the Jews – Systematic Business Habits – Dealings with American Publishers

Chapter 18. Charles Dickens¡¦s Names – Odd Names – Futility of Personal Argument – Retort on Lockhart – Making Friends – Mr. Ree-Ack – Lord Campbell – Temperate Habits – Undervaluing Shakespeare ¡V Wordsworth and Dickens – Philadelphia Streets – Personal Tastes – Pity for the Fallen – Town and Country – Longing for Sudden Death – John Dickens and Sheridan – Children – Domestic Troubles

Chapter 19. Fondness for Theatricals – Amateur Acting – Lord Lytton¡¦s Play – Queen Victoria – Wilkie Collins¡¦s Plays – Captain Bobadil – Hans Christian Andersen at Gad¡¦s Hill – Jerrold Memorial – Public Readings – Second Visit to America

Chapter 20. Second Visit to America – Rationale of His Readings – Reception at Boston – Effects of Thought and Time ¡V Dramatic Power – Long Walks – List of Selections ¡V Correspondence – Last Readings in Boston and New York – Press Banquet at Delmonico¡¦s – Last Words on the American Notes – Amende – Departure

Chapter 21. Return to England – In Harness – A New Reading – Dinner at Liverpool – Dangerous Illness – Grave-Side Speech-Making – Gad¡¦s Hill House – Miss Clarke at Tavistock House – Hans Christian Andersen – Franklin Philp – Habits of Work – Long Walks – M. Fechter – Close of 1869

Chapter 22. Farewell Readings – Mystery of Edwin Drood – Visits Queen Victoria – Honors Declined – Speech at Royal Academy – Ill Health – The Last Week – Closing Correspondence – His Christian Belief and Hope – Apoplexy – Death – Grief from Throne to Cottage – Burial in Westminster Abbey – Dean Stanley¡¦s Sermon on Charles Dickens in Westminster Abbey

Chapter 23. Purity of His Writings – Variety of Subjects and Characters – Absence of Egotism and Cynicism – Compared with Thackeray – Will His Writings Live? – His Domestic Life – His Broad Christianity – The Caiaphas of Plymouth Church – Tributes from the Pulpit – Charles Dickens¡¦s Last Words, and Their Great Lesson

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