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First Fruits

15/5/1852

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Authors Charles Dickens
George Augustus Sala
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Children; Childhood; Pregnancy; Childbirth; Child Rearing; Adoption; Child Labor
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
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Dickens probably wrote the following sections of 'First Fruits': from 'The first picture-book!' (p. 190) to 'something and water' (p. 191); from 'But, here have we been' (p. 192) to the conclusion.
Dickens may also have added to the following passage: from 'Who can lay his hand' to 'but not the baby!' (p. 191).
In addition, Dickens seems to have emended and enhanced other portions of the piece.
In some limited respects, Sala's literary sensibility was akin to Dickens'; he could, for instance, brilliantly imitate - at times parody - certain of Dickens' stylistic mannerisms and literary strategies. He also had a Dickensian relish for picturesque oddities and trenchant details - all of which, plus Dickens' habit of editing and emending the work of his collaborators, sometimes makes it extremely difficult, in joint pieces, to disentangle his writing from Dickens'.
In Things I Have Seen and People I Have Known, commenting on Dickens' editorial methods, Sala wrote: 'Dickens took the revises in hand himself, and very often surprised me by the alterations - always for the better - which he made, now in the title, and now in the matter, of my 'copy.'' Sala then goes on to give a number of examples. In one article, Sala had written that a tipsy passenger on top of an omnibus might feel 'very queer sensations,' to which Dickens added in the revise, 'particularly when the bow of your cravat slides to the back of your head and hangs there like a bag-wig.' 'These thoroughly Dickensian touches,' Sala continues, 'added purely by his own autocratic will, did, I am convinced, a great deal of good to the productions of his young men; but, at the same time, the frequency of Dickensian tropes, illustrations, and metaphors, interpolated in the articles of his disciples, led to their being taunted with being slavish imitators of their leader'.
Dickens immediately recognized Sala's talent and his potential usefulness as a staff writer who could do certain 'Dickensian' things. In 1851 Sala had submitted an unsolicited piece to Household Words. As soon as Dickens read it, he wrote (13 August 1851) to Wills:

I have written to the Author of the Key of the Street, accepting his paper. It is a very remarkable piece of description, and (although there is little fancy in it) exceedingly superior to the usual run of such writing. I have delicately altered it myself, so as to leave no offence in it whatever. If the young man can write, generally, as well as that, he will be an acquisition to us. I think it quite good enough for a first article - but we will not put it first, for fear we should spoil him in the beginning. It is sure to tell.

On 27 September 1851, after cutting and editing another article by Sala, Dickens wrote to Wills:

There is nobody about us whom we can use, in his way, more advantageously than this young man. It will be exceedingly desirable to set him on some subjects. I will endeavour to think of a few, suited to him. Suggest to him Saturday night in London, or London Markets - Newport Market, Tottenham Court Road, Whitechapel Road (where there are the most extraordinary men holding forth on Saturday night about Corn Plaister - the most extraordinary things sold, near Whitechapel workhouse - the strangest shows - and the wildest cheap Johns) - the New Cut, &c., &c., &c. I think he would make a capital paper out of it.

Sala soon became a salaried member of the Household Words staff - a sign that Dickens regarded him as an unusually versatile and valuable writer.
The core of Dickens' contribution to 'First Fruits' is largely autobiographical and includes many details which also occur in other, demonstrably autobiographical pieces.

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

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subjects Europe—History
France—History
Great Britain—History
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Monarchy
War; Battles; Peace; Military History; Weapons; Soldiers
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 491

Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subjects Great Britain—History
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Monarchy
Social classes; Class distinctions; Aristocracy (Social Class); Aristocracy (Social Class)—Fiction; Middle Class; Working Class; Servants;
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 480

Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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Betting-Shops

26/6/1852

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Associations; Institutions; Clubs; Labor Unions
Great Britain—Social Life and Customs
Popular Culture; Amusements
Sports; Games; Leisure; Pleasure; Hunting; Horse Racing; Gambling; Duelling
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 915

Gambling was constantly on the political agenda during the 1840s and 1850s with a Gaming Act in 1845, the Betting Houses Act in 1853 and another in 1854. The 1845 Act was intended to unclog the legal system from the ever-growing number of cases involving gambling debts, but, 'as this meant that debts resulting from credit bets were no longer legally recoverably, the law inadvertently gave encouragement to cash betting offices' (R. Munting, An Economic and Social History of Gambling in Britain and the USA [1996], p. 23). By 1852 there was an increasing groundswell of middle-class public opinion critical of this development as reflected in an article, 'Betting Offices', in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, 24 July 1852 (pp. 57–8) and Cruikshank's pamplet The Betting Shop (1852), as well as Dickens's article. 

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subjects Europe—History
France—History
France—Politics and Government
Great Britain—History
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Monarchy
War; Battles; Peace; Military History; Weapons; Soldiers
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 485

Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Political Commentary i
Subject Great Britain—Politics and Government
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 684

Lord John Russell's Government resigned in February [1852] and the Earl of Derby formed a Conservative administration with Disraeli as Chancellor. There was a general election in July and, although the Conservatives gained over 100 seats, they remained a minority government. Joseph Irving notes in his Annals of Our Time [1869], 'A diversity giving rise to much comment was noticed in the speeches delivered during the present election by Ministerial supporters, regarding the views of the Cabinet on the subject of Free-trade', and records also 'a curious case of bribery' at Derby, where a man was found in the County Tavern with '265l. in gold and 40l. in notes' and a book containing 'the names of electors who had received money for their vote'. 

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subjects France—History
France—Politics and Government
Great Britain—History
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Monarchy
Religion; Religion and Culture
Religion—Christianity—Catholic Church
War; Battles; Peace; Military History; Weapons; Soldiers
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Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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Our Vestry

28/8/1852

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subject Great Britain—Politics and Government
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Dickens seems to have had the idea for a paper or series of papers entitled 'Playing at Parliament' as far back as July 1850, when he was being exasperated by reports of the debates in the Court of Common Councils (governing body of the City of London) when many Councillors opposed sanitary reform (see Pilgrim, Vol. VI, p. 129; also Vol. 2 of [the Dent Uniform Edition of Dickens' Journalism], pp. 327–28). In one of his earliest sketches, 'Our Parish: the Election for Beadle' (Evening Chronicle, 14 July 1835; see Vol. 1 of [the Dent Uniform Edition of Dickens' Journalism], pp. 20–6), he had made fun of the self-important pomposities of local government assemblies as reflecting the absurdities of Parliamentary procedures; the Pickwick Club's behaviour in Pickwick Papers, Ch. 1, is a variant on this theme and Dickens again returns to it here. 

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Boys to Mend

11/9/1852

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Authors Charles Dickens
Henry Morley
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Subjects Charity; Philanthropists; Philanthropists—Fiction; Benevolence
Education—Great Britain; Universities and Colleges; Schools
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Dickens probably wrote the following portions of 'Boys to Mend': from 'People are naturally' to 'summer days' (p. 597); from 'O honorable friend' to 'what could he, have been!' (p. 598); the concluding paragraph.
Dickens may also have retouched or added to the following passages: from 'A dull mist of heat' (p. 597) to 'baleful weeds and poisons?' (p. 598) - though the section from 'Every hedge' (p. 597) to 'breath of wind' (p. 598) is almost certainly entirely by Morley; from 'Your child' to 'certainly do it' (p. 598); the paragraph beginning 'Aided by the resident chaplain' (p. 599); from 'There are corn fields' to 'in the school' (p. 600); from 'There is another boy, confined' (p. 601) to 'promises well' (p. 602).
In addition, Dickens seems to have interpolated many phrases - sometimes within dashes or parentheses - and to have done much emending and minor editing.
The article gave Dickens some difficulty. On 12 August 1852, he wrote to Wills from Dover: 'Sitting down this morning to Morley's Boys to Mend, I couldn't take to it on the short notice, and thought of the enclosed instead [probably 'Our Vestry,' which appeared in Household Words on 28 August]. You shall have the rest (about three slips) by tomorrow's post.' Before the week was over, Dickens had returned to Morley's paper and had completed it. This is clear from an unpublished letter to Wills (19 August 1852), now in the Huntington Library, in which Dickens asks Wills to soften a phrase in the second paragraph of 'Boys to Mend' so as to qualify his criticism of the Ragged Schools movement and thus prevent possible damage to it. The alteration was made.
Dickens' attitude, imagery, and diction in his portions of this piece should be compared with analogous elements in his strictures on 'boys to mend' in Bleak House (1852-1853). The similarity is not surprising, for Dickens was deeply engaged at the moment in writing Bleak House, which was also appearing concurrently in monthly parts.

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

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subject Great Britain—History
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 616

Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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Authors Charles Dickens
Henry Morley
Genres Prose: Digest; Review i
Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Latin America—Politics and Government
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
Slavery; Slaves; Slaves—Fiction; Slave-Trade
United States—Politics and Government
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Dickens wrote the following portions of 'North American Slavery': the opening paragraph; the subsequent sections referring to Uncle Tom's Cabin (pp. 3 and 4).
Dickens may also have retouched or added to the following passages: the paragraph beginning 'This constant sale' (p. 3); from 'Why did he return?' (p. 3) to 'negro gentleman' (p. 4); from 'The slave population' to 'the negroes bear it' (p. 4); the final paragraph.
In addition, Dickens seems to have made occasional emendations elsewhere in the article.
Writing of 'North American Slavery' in a letter (20 December 1852), Dickens said: 'I wrote no part [of the article], but the high and genuine praise of Mrs Stowe's book [Uncle Tom's Cabin].' This disclaimer need not be taken literally, for though the opening paragraph may be the only extended section wholly by Dickens, his method of intensively editing, rewriting, and adding to what went into Household Words often made other sections of articles as much his as the original author's. This is preeminently true of what Dickens called his 'composite' articles - that is, articles, such as this one, which are listed in the Household Words Contributors' Book as jointly by Dickens and a collaborator. Dickens would not have been listed as a joint author if he had simply added the initial paragraph. The only published text of the letter from which the above disclaimer is quoted is in Harry Stone, 'Charles Dickens and Harriet Beecher Stowe,' Nineteenth-Century Fiction, XII (December 1957), 188-202.
Dickens had long been interested in American slavery. His library contained a collection of books and pamphlets on the subject, and he devoted an entire chapter of American Notes (1842) to attacking the system and recording its horrors. Household Words continued the campaign. 'North American Slavery' was followed by additional articles in which other writers objectified or elaborated what Dickens and Morley had written - for example, 'Freedom, or Slavery?' (22 July 1854), 'Slaves and their Masters' (23 August 1856), and 'Sketching at a Slave Auction' (14 February 1857).

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

Casimir Leconte, "Les Noirs libres et les noirs esclaves", Revue des deux mondes (July 1852).

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852).

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Our Bore

9/10/1852

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Sketch i
Subjects Character; Character Sketches; Caricature
Europe—Description and Travel
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
National Characteristics; Nationalism
Psychology; Psychiatry; Mental Health; Mind-Body Relations (Metaphysics)
Travel; Tourism; Hotels; Resorts; Seaside Resorts—Fiction; Passports;
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The writing of 'sketches of character', descriptions of social, moral or occupational types, was a flourishing genre in the first half of the nineteenth century, both in France and in Britain. Notable practitioners were Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt, and Dickens himself had supplied several specimens in his Sketches by Boz (see also his 1837 Bentley's piece, 'Some Particulars Concerning a Lion' in Vol. 1 of [the Dent Uniform Edition of Dickens' Journalism], pp. 508–12). A classic collection of such pieces was the artist Kenny Meadows's Heads of the People (1840), in which his 'portraits' accompanied essays by Douglas Jerrold, Leigh Hunt and others with such titles as 'The Diner-Out', 'The Spoilt Child', 'The Teetotaller', and so on.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subjects Great Britain—History
Monarchy
War; Battles; Peace; Military History; Weapons; Soldiers
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Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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Lying Awake

30/10/1852

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Dreams; Visions; Sleep
Psychology; Psychiatry; Mental Health; Mind-Body Relations (Metaphysics)
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 1937

In this insomniac reverie Dickens mingles memories of his travels in America (1842) and Switzerland (1846), and of many visits to Paris, with a vivid childhood reminiscence and with more recent news items. He had ascended the Great St Bernard with a party of friends, including two very dear ones, the Hon. Richard Watson and his wife Lavinia (Watson's death, in July 1852, grieved him deeply), at the beginning of September 1846. He wrote a lively description of the convent and its monks to Forster (Forster, Book 5, Ch. 4) in which he called the monks 'a piece of sheer humbug...a lazy set of fellows...driving a good trade in Innkeeping'. The convent's 'menagerie smell' he refers to again in Little Dorrit (Book 2, Ch. 1): 'a smell...coming up from the floor, of tethered beasts, like the smell of a menagerie of wild animals'. 

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subject Great Britain—History
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 491

Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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Authors Charles Dickens
Henry Morley
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Subjects Manufacturing processes; Manufacturing; Factories; Factory Management; Industrial Waste
Precious Metals; Precious Stones; Gold; Gold Mines and Mining; Mines and Mineral Resources; Minerals; Metals; Quarries and Quarrying
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 617

Dickens probably wrote the following portions of 'Discovery of a Treasure Near Cheapside': from the beginning to 'uneasy about it!' (p. 195); from 'Thus, I came out' (p. 197) to the conclusion.
Dickens may also have added touches to the following passage: from 'I left the furnaces' to 'tale of sorrow' (p. 196).
'Discovery of a Treasure Near Cheapside' describes a visit to Brown and Wingrove's Wood Street Smelting Works, a gold refinery located at 30-31 Wood Street, Cheapside, London. The essay is another good example of a Dickensian 'process' article - an article which explains an ordinary manufacturing process and at the same time reveals its special wonder and enchantment. Dickens felt that this fusion of realism and fancy could help make daily life more imaginative and therefore more bearable. The anomalous tree which figures so prominently in Dickens' portion of the article was a plane tree growing at the corner of Wood Street in the church-yard of St. Peter's, Westcheap.

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

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Trading in Death

27/11/1852

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Commercial Products (Commodities); Material Culture; Shopping; Advertising
Great Britain—Social Life and Customs
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Newspapers; Periodicals; Journalism
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 1178

The Duke of Wellington died on 14 September and his state Funeral took place on 18 November. It was planned on a more magnificent and elaborate scale than any previous such occasion in the nation's history and, given Dickens's detestation of costly and elaborate funeral ceremonies, it is not surprising that he reacted negatively to all this. 'I think it a grevious thing,' he wrote to Miss Burdett Coutts on 23 September, 'a relapse into semi-barbarous practices...a pernicious corruption of the popular mind, just beginning to awaken from the long dream of inconsistencies, monstrosities, horrors and ruinous expenses, that has beset all classes of society in connexion with Death' (Pilgrim, Vol. VI, pp. 764–5). In the same letter he expressed his belief that it would be useless to publish any remonstrance on the subject until the wave of public emotion had subsided. 

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subjects Europe—History
France—History
Great Britain—History
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Monarchy
War; Battles; Peace; Military History; Weapons; Soldiers
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 495

Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Autobiography; Biography; Memoirs; Obituary; Anecdotes i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Children; Childhood; Pregnancy; Childbirth; Child Rearing; Adoption; Child Labor
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
London (England)—Description and Travel
Progress; Memory; Commemoration; Nostaliga; Time—Social Aspects; Time—Psychological Aspects; Time perception;
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 2274

In this essay for New Year's Day Dickens writes on a subject of profound and perennial importance to him, his belief in the absolute need for us to preserve into adulthood, for the sake of our psychic health, our childhood sense of wonder. He begins by recalling, in vivid detail, some of the literature that had most stimulated his childish imagination. He moves on to real things (objects, places, eccentric characters seen in the streets) that made an ineffaceable impression on him during his childhood years in London – stories he then heard, or read, about the Bastille come in here too – and that remain as marvellous to him now as then. Finally, he reverts to the very earliest years of his life, spent in Chatham. For an important and illuminating discussion of the whole essay, see Malcolm Andrews, Dickens and the Grown-Up Child (1994), Ch. 4. 

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subject Great Britain—History
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 500

Compiled in large part from Thomas Keightley, The History of England, and from George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, The Pictorial History of England.

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