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A Preliminary Word

30/3/1850

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Editorial i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Ethics; Morals; Moral Development; Moral Education; Philosophy; Values
Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
Newspapers; Periodicals; Journalism
Utilitarianism
Work; Work and Family; Occupations; Professions; Wages
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In this editorial manifesto for his new journal Dickens is concerned to position it among the many already existing weekly publications that were aimed at a mass market. Outstandingly successful among these was Chambers's Journal, founded as Chambers's Edinburgh Journal in 1832, published at three half-pennies, with a circulation of over 50,000. It was intended to provide 'a meal of healthful, useful and agreeable mental instruction' for all classes and conditions of readers, and mingled informative articles with poetry and some fiction (see L. James, Fiction for the Working Man, [1974 edn.], pp. 16–17).

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Lizzie Leigh [i]

30/3/1850

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Author Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Genre Prose: Serial Fiction i
Subjects Agriculture; Fishing; Forestry; Gardening; Horticulture
Christmas; New Year; Holidays and Seasonal Celebrations
Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
Gender Identity; Women; Men; Femininity; Masculinity
Great Britain—Social Conditions—Nineteenth Century
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Religion; Religion and Culture
Religion—Christianity—Protestantism; Dissenters, Religious
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Authors Charles Dickens
W[illiam] H[enry] Wills
Genre Prose: Report i
Subjects Communication; Telegraph; Postal Service
Great Britain—Social Life and Customs
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
London (England)—Description and Travel
Money; Finance; Banking; Investments; Taxation; Insurance; Debt; Inheritance and Succession
Newspapers; Periodicals; Journalism
Work; Work and Family; Occupations; Professions; Wages
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Dickens probably wrote the following portions of 'Valentine's Day at the Post-Office': from 'Here huge slits' to 'paid letters' (p. 6); from 'Having been led' to ''inside out'' (p. 7); from 'consisting of hearts' to 'tender verses' (p. 8) ; from 'It was then just' to 'stars right in their spheres?' (p. 9); from 'As to the rooms' (p. 9) to 'the following observations:-' (p. 10); from 'While this amusement' to 'living being visible' (p. 11).
Dickens may also have rewritten or added to the following passages: from 'The mysterious visitors' to 'Sundays excepted!' (p. 7); from 'While one of the visitors' to 'through the office' (p. 7).
In addition, Dickens seems to have added touches to sections primarily by Wills.
In 1860 Wills published under his name a collection of pieces entitled Old Leaves; Gathered from Household Words. This work, now virtually unobtainable, contained thirty-seven pieces collected from Household Words: twenty-two by Wills, and fifteen by Dickens and Wills (including, in the latter category, 'Valentine's Day at the Post-Office'). Wills was not attempting to take credit for Dickens' work. He freely acknowledged Dickens' share in the book, but - very likely on Dickens' orders - did not mention Dickens' name. Instead he dedicated the volume to 'THE OTHER HAND, whose masterly touches gave to the OLD LEAVES here freshly gathered, their brightest tints,' and he marked all the collaborative articles with a printer's hand, indicating that 'portions of the papers distinguished throughout the volume by this mark are by another hand' (in every case the label agrees with the designation in the Contributors' Book). He also changed the text. He reprinted some of the pieces, such as 'Valentine's Day at the Post-Office,' virtually unchanged, but he peppered most of the articles with hundreds of minor emendations. In collaborative pieces, his usual practice seems to have been to emend his own sections very freely, Dickens' reworkings less freely, and Dickens' solo portions - with a few trivial and explainable exceptions - not at all. In certain instances, also, he reparagraphed passages in order to separate Dickens' work from his own. As a consequence, Wills' emendations often provide strong additional evidence for establishing Dickens' share in their joint articles. Such evidence has been used throughout [Stone's edition] to help make the Dickens-Wills attributions.
Concerning one segment of Wills' portion of this article, Dickens wrote (12 March 1850): 'My objection to entering into the Sunday [delivery of mail] business is, that whatever we state, is sure to be contradicted; and I observed Rowland Hill to be a very cautious and reserved man, whom I should strongly doubt as to his backing qualities in such a case. If the passage stand at all, I should wish it to stand as I have altered it. But I should be glad if you would show it to Forster, as a casting opinion. We will abide by his black or white ball.' The ball apparently was black, for the passage does not appear in the published version. Concerning another segment of Wills' portion of this article, Dickens wrote (28 February 1850): 'I think the addresses I enclose in this, the best. I would certainly give all these in the article. If you have a fac-simile of any, I recommend Valparaiso'. Dickens' suggestions illustrate how he supervised what his collaborators wrote. Through such suggestions, and through many similar devices, he shaped and controlled what he assigned to others.
'Valentine's Day at the Post-Office,' which appeared in the inaugural issue of Household Words, was the prototype of many similar articles. Dickens called such pieces 'process' articles. He wrote some process articles himself and collaborated on many others.

Harry Stone; © Bloomington and Indiana University Press, 1968. DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

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Author James Henry Leigh Hunt
Genre Poetry: Narrative i
Subjects Civilization—Ancient
Religion; Religion and Culture
Religion—Christianity—General
Religion—Judaism
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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Report i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
Great Britain—Social Life and Customs
Popular Culture; Amusements
Social classes; Class distinctions; Aristocracy (Social Class); Aristocracy (Social Class)—Fiction; Middle Class; Working Class; Servants;
Theatre; Performing Arts; Performing; Dance; Playwriting; Circus
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Dickens wrote or co-wrote three pieces for the first number of his new journal. For the co-authored piece, 'Valentine's Day at the Post-Office' [Vol. I, 30 March 1850], written with his sub-editor W. H. Wills, and another articles, 'A Bundle of Emigrants' Letters' [Vol. I, 30 March 1850], in which Dickens presented some letters home from emigrants to Australia (see Stone [, Uncollected Writings of Charles Dickens]). 'The Amusements of the People' is the first instalment of a two-part polemical report on the kind of entertainment available to working-class audiences at two well-known popular theatres. It relates directly to one aspect of the editorial project announced in Dickens's 'Preliminary Word' in that it is concerned with the cultivation of the imagination, cherishing 'that light of Fancy which is inherent in the human breast.' For Dickens, one of the supreme sites for imaginative experience was the theatre and here he directs his middle-class readers' attention to the kind of dramatic entertainment provided at his neighbourhood theatre for the generically named Joe Whelks (whelks, like oysters, were a favourite delicacy of the Victorian poor).

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Author George Hogarth
Genres Prose: Autobiography; Biography; Memoirs; Obituary; Anecdotes i
Prose: Letters; Correspondence i
Subjects Death; Grief; Mourning; Mourning Customs in Literature; Funeral Rites and Ceremonies; Life Cycle, Human; Old Age; Mortality
France—History
France—Social Life and Customs
Fraud; Forgery; Deception; Betrayal—Fiction
Great Britain—History
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Marriage; Courtship; Love; Sex
Supernatural; Superstition; Spiritualism; Clairvoyance; Mesmerism; Ghosts; Fairies; Witches; Magic; Occultism
Theatre; Performing Arts; Performing; Dance; Playwriting; Circus
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The Wayside Well

30/3/1850

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Author William Allingham
Genre Poetry: Lyric i
Subject Nature; Nature (Aesthetics); Nature in Literature; Landscapes
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Authors Caroline Chisholm
Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: Report i
Subjects Agriculture; Fishing; Forestry; Gardening; Horticulture
Australia—Description and Travel; New Zealand—Description and Travel
Communication; Telegraph; Postal Service
Emigration; Immigration; Expatriation
Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
Food; Cooking; Gastronomy; Alcohol; Bars (Drinking Establishments); Restaurants; Dinners and Dining
Great Britain—Colonies—Description and Travel
Great Britain—Social Conditions—Nineteenth Century
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
Money; Finance; Banking; Investments; Taxation; Insurance; Debt; Inheritance and Succession
Poverty; Poor Laws—Great Britain; Workhouses—Great Britain
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Dickens wrote all of this article with the exception of the letters themselves, the latter being supplied by Mrs. Caroline Chisholm. 'I have given Greening,' he wrote to Wills on 6 March 1850, 'a little article of my own, called A Bundle of Emigrants' Letters, introducing some five or six originals, which are extremely good.'
The article came about as a result of the intervention of Elizabeth Herbert. A few weeks before the first issue of Household Words appeared, Mrs. Herbert arranged a meeting between Dickens and Mrs. Chisholm with a view to publicizing the latter's newly founded Family Colonisation Loan Society; Elizabeth Herbert's husband, Sidney Herbert (see 'Doctor Dulcamara, M.P.' ), was a member of the Committee of the Society. On 24 February 1850, Mrs. Herbert wrote to Mrs. Chisholm:

I saw Mr. Dickens to-day, and he has commissioned me to say that if you will allow him, and unless he hears to the contrary from you, he will call upon you at 2 o'clock on Tuesday next, the 26th. I told him about your emigrants' letters, and he seemed to think that the giving them publicity would be an important engine towards helping on our work, and he has so completely the confidence of the lower classes (who all read his books if they can read at all) that I think, if you can persuade him to bring them out in his new work [Household Words] it will be an immense step gained. He is so singularly clever and agreeable that I hope you will forgive me for having made this appointment without your direct sanction, and for having also told him that I knew you wished to make his acquaintance -

'A Bundle of Emigrants' Letters' appeared in the inaugural issue of Household Words.
Mrs. Chisholm, deeply involved in emigrant and colonization activities, was the prototype of Mrs. Jellyby in Bleak House (1852-1853). Mrs. Jellyby, it will be remembered, was so engrossed in helping the natives of Borrioboola-Gha on the Niger, that she grievously neglected her family On 4 March 1850, several days after calling on Mrs. Chisholm, and a day or two before completing 'A Bundle of Emigrants' Letters,' Dickens wrote to Miss Coutts: 'I dream of Mrs Chisholm, and her housekeeping. The dirty faces of her children are my continual companions.' As the following article, several other articles in Household Words, and much additional evidence indicate, Dickens was sympathetic to Mrs. Chisholm's endeavors. He was puzzled, however, by the ironic disproportion between her devotion to public causes and her neglect of personal duties.

Harry Stone; © Bloomington and Indiana University Press, 1968. DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

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Authors Samuel Sidney
John Sidney
Genre Prose: Snippet i
Subjects Agriculture; Fishing; Forestry; Gardening; Horticulture
Animals; Domestic Animals; Pets; Working Animals; Birds; Insects
Australia—Description and Travel; New Zealand—Description and Travel
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From Scenes in the Life of a Bushman (unpublished)

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Metal in Sea-Water

30/3/1850

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Author Anon.
Genre Prose: Snippet i
Subjects Physical Sciences (Chemistry / Earth Sciences / Geography / Mathematics / Metallurgy / Physics)
Science; Science—History; Technology; Technological innovations; Discoveries in Science
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Reprinted from The Athenaeum.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Children; Childhood; Pregnancy; Childbirth; Child Rearing; Adoption; Child Labor
Death; Grief; Mourning; Mourning Customs in Literature; Funeral Rites and Ceremonies; Life Cycle, Human; Old Age; Mortality
Dreams; Visions; Sleep
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Religion; Religion and Culture
Religion—Christianity—General
Supernatural; Superstition; Spiritualism; Clairvoyance; Mesmerism; Ghosts; Fairies; Witches; Magic; Occultism
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Dickens wrote to Forster on 14 March that he had felt, when reviewing the proposed contents for the second number of HW, 'an uneasy sense of there being a want of something tender, which would apply to some universal household knowledge'; looking at the stars during a journey on the railway ('always a wonderfully suggestive place to me when I am alone'), he found himself 'revolving a little idea about them' and, putting the two things together, wrote this piece 'straightway' (Pilgrim, Vol. VI, p. 65). It was given pride of place in the new number.

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Author Richard H. Horne
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Report i
Prose: Serial Fiction i
Subject Work; Work and Family; Occupations; Professions; Wages
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Author Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Genre Prose: Serial Fiction i
Subject Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
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Author Richard H. Horne
Genre Prose: Short Fiction i
Subject Social classes; Class distinctions; Aristocracy (Social Class); Aristocracy (Social Class)—Fiction; Middle Class; Working Class; Servants;
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Genre Poetry: Other i
Subjects Death; Grief; Mourning; Mourning Customs in Literature; Funeral Rites and Ceremonies; Life Cycle, Human; Old Age; Mortality
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
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This tiny 'filler' article, less than ten lines of a single column, is not mentioned in the Office Book, and would appear to have been inserted at the direction of the editorial team. Sir Richard Blackmore (1654-1729; DNB) was a doughty doctor and poet, physician to both William III and Queen Anne, and embroiled in numerous controversies over his writings, which were widely ridiculed--by Pope and Dryden among many others--but stoutly defended. His empirical approach to medical matters, and rejection of theory-driven medicine and scholasticism, are made clear in various treatises and essays. The furnishing of the quotation could be attributed to Dickens as editor or to W. H. Wills as sub-editor (trained physician Henry Morley had not yet started to write for Household Words) but the endorsement of the four-line commentary on it is almost certainly Dickens's.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Report i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Crime; Criminals; Punishment; Capital Punishment; Prisons; Penal Transportation; Penal Colonies
Great Britain—Social Conditions—Nineteenth Century
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'Happy Families', or collections of small animals and birds who were natural enemies shown living peaceably together in the same cage, were a popular form of street entertainment in the mid-Victorian period, one such show being elaborately described by Mayhew (London Labour and the London Poor [1861–2], Vol. III, pp. 214–19). This provides Dickens with a fine device for a general satire on contemporary squabbling over such matters as national education (bedevilled by sectarian rivalry) and ecclesiastical affairs, dubious social experiments such as the Pentonville Prison 'solitary system' [see 'Pet Prisoners', HW, Vol. I, 27 April 1850], Parliamentary conventions (more extensively ridiculed in 'A Few Conventionalities', HW, Vol. III, 28 June 1851), and the organised hypocrisy of 'Society'.

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Author Bryan Waller Procter
Genres Cross-genre i
Drama i
Poetry: Narrative i
Subjects Europe—History
France—History
Great Britain—History
National Characteristics; Nationalism
Supernatural; Superstition; Spiritualism; Clairvoyance; Mesmerism; Ghosts; Fairies; Witches; Magic; Occultism
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 1220

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Author Samuel Sidney
Genre Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Great Britain—Colonies—Description and Travel
Great Britain—Social Conditions—Nineteenth Century
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Authors George Hogarth
W[illiam] H[enry] Wills
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: History i
Prose: Report i
Subjects Civilization—Ancient
Civilization—Classical
Death; Grief; Mourning; Mourning Customs in Literature; Funeral Rites and Ceremonies; Life Cycle, Human; Old Age; Mortality
Public Health; Sanitation; Water
Religion; Religion and Culture
Religion—Christianity—Catholic Church
Religion—Christianity—General
Religion—Islam
Religion—Judaism
World—History
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Author W[illiam] H[enry] Wills
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Report i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Engineering;
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Great Britain—Social Conditions—Nineteenth Century
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Life Sciences (Physiology / Biology / Immunology / Medicine / Pharmacology / Anatomy / Ecology)
London (England)—Description and Travel
Money; Finance; Banking; Investments; Taxation; Insurance; Debt; Inheritance and Succession
Public Health; Sanitation; Water
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