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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subject Great Britain—History
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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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Gone Astray

13/8/1853

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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
London (England)—Description and Travel
Urbanization; Urban Life and Landscapes
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Whether or not this essay 'literally and exactly' describes, as Dickens claims, something that actually happened to him as a little boy, his childhood fascination with the slum neighbourhood of St Giles, the notorious rookery at the southern end of Tottenham Court Road, is well documented (see Vol. I of the Dent edition of Dickens's Journalism, p. 70): '"Good Heaven!" he would exclaim, "what wild visions of prodigies of wickedness, want, and beggary, arose in my mind out of that place!" (Forster, Book I, Ch. I).

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: History i
Subject Great Britain—History
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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.

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

26/8/1854

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Authors Charles Dickens
Adelaide Anne Procter
Genre Poetry: Lyric i
Subjects Death; Grief; Mourning; Mourning Customs in Literature; Funeral Rites and Ceremonies; Life Cycle, Human; Old Age; Mortality
Ethics; Morals; Moral Development; Moral Education; Philosophy; Values
Religion; Religion and Culture
Religion—Christianity—General
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 421

Dickens was probably speaking of 'Hidden Light' when he wrote as follows to Wills on 12 August 1854: 'I have bothered and worried at the Poem (which is neither English, nor verse) hoping to make something of it, but have not succeeded after all. Strike it out. If I can fuse into it an idea I have of its natural end, you shall have it in the next parcel. If you hear no more of it, give it up as unmendable.'
According to the Office Book, 'Hidden Light' is the only Household Words poem with Dickens as joint author. Perhaps the last three stanzas are by him.

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

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Great Britain—Politics and Government
Popular Culture; Amusements
Social classes; Class distinctions; Aristocracy (Social Class); Aristocracy (Social Class)—Fiction; Middle Class; Working Class; Servants;
Work; Work and Family; Occupations; Professions; Wages
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Relaxing in Boulogne after finishing Hard Times Dickens promised Wills that he would 'endeavour to come off my back (and the grass)' to do a leading article for the number that was to carry the first instalment of Mrs Gaskell's North and South (Pilgrim, Vol. VII, p. 384).

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Digest; Review i
Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Great Britain—Politics and Government
Law; Lawyers; Justice; Courts; Trials
Money; Finance; Banking; Investments; Taxation; Insurance; Debt; Inheritance and Succession
Work; Work and Family; Occupations; Professions; Wages
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 519

This article, inspired by Dickens's reading of reports sent to him by Wills of a barrister's evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee on County Courts (May 1854), reads like a sort of pendant or postscript to Bleak House, though Dickens believed wehn he sent article to Wills that it was 'a new subject with us' (i.e. in HW; he was forgetting an earlier article on County Courts called 'Law at a Low Price' by Wills and W. T. Haly published in the issue for 18 May 1850).

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To Working Men

7/10/1854

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Editorial i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Architecture; Building; Housing; Property; Landlord and Tenant;
Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
Gender Identity; Women; Men; Femininity; Masculinity
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Great Britain—Social Conditions—Nineteenth Century
Public Health; Sanitation; Water
Social classes; Class distinctions; Aristocracy (Social Class); Aristocracy (Social Class)—Fiction; Middle Class; Working Class; Servants;
Urbanization; Urban Life and Landscapes
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 457

On 25 September Dickens wrote to Wills that he was 'quite shocked and ashamed' to see that there was nothing in the issue of HW about to go to press relating to the terrible outbreak of Asiatic cholera in London during the previous two months.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: Travel-writing i
Subjects Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
France—Description and Travel
France—Social Life and Customs
National Characteristics; Nationalism
Sports; Games; Leisure; Pleasure; Hunting; Horse Racing; Gambling; Duelling
Travel; Tourism; Hotels; Resorts; Seaside Resorts—Fiction; Passports;
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 631

Dickens and his family spent their first summer in Boulogne in 1853.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Railroads
Urbanization; Urban Life and Landscapes
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This article to some extent recapitulates Dickens's description in Ch. 6 of Dombey and Son (published in 1846) of the devestating effect on the north-west London suburb of Camden Town of the building of the London to Birmingham railway.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Autobiography; Biography; Memoirs; Obituary; Anecdotes i
Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Great Britain—Politics and Government
Great Britain—Social Life and Customs
London (England)—Description and Travel
Social classes; Class distinctions; Aristocracy (Social Class); Aristocracy (Social Class)—Fiction; Middle Class; Working Class; Servants;
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 354

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Character; Character Sketches; Caricature
Gender Identity; Women; Men; Femininity; Masculinity
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 451

Dickens here lampoons the Prime Minister, the seventy-year-old Earl of Aberdeen, a Peelite Tory who had also at times supported the Whigs (hence the reference at the end of paragraph 4 to his earlier 'contortion').

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Digest; Review i
Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Arctic Regions; Arctic Regions—Description and Travel; Arctic Regions—Discovery and Exploration; Antarctica; Antarctica—Description and Travel; Antarctica—Discovery and Exploration
Explorers and Exploration; Wilderness Survival; Survival; Adventure and Adventurers
Food; Cooking; Gastronomy; Alcohol; Bars (Drinking Establishments); Restaurants; Dinners and Dining
Gender Identity; Women; Men; Femininity; Masculinity
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
National Characteristics; Nationalism
Race; Racism; Ethnicity; Anthropology; Ethnography
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Fifty-nine-year-old Sir John Franklin set out on his third voyage of Arctic exploration in May 1845, in command of 129 officers and men in two ships, the Terror and the Erebus.

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Arctic Regions; Arctic Regions—Description and Travel; Arctic Regions—Discovery and Exploration; Antarctica; Antarctica—Description and Travel; Antarctica—Discovery and Exploration
Explorers and Exploration; Wilderness Survival; Survival; Adventure and Adventurers
Food; Cooking; Gastronomy; Alcohol; Bars (Drinking Establishments); Restaurants; Dinners and Dining
Ships; Boats; Shipwrecks; Salvage; Merchant Marine; Sailors; Sailing; Submarines (Ships)
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Fifty-nine-year-old Sir John Franklin set out on his third voyage of Arctic exploration in May 1845, in command of 129 officers and men in two ships, the Terror and the Erebus.

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Authors Charles Dickens
John Rae
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Subjects Arctic Regions; Arctic Regions—Description and Travel; Arctic Regions—Discovery and Exploration; Antarctica; Antarctica—Description and Travel; Antarctica—Discovery and Exploration
Explorers and Exploration; Wilderness Survival; Survival; Adventure and Adventurers
Food; Cooking; Gastronomy; Alcohol; Bars (Drinking Establishments); Restaurants; Dinners and Dining
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Language and Languages
Race; Racism; Ethnicity; Anthropology; Ethnography
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Dickens wrote the following portions of 'The Lost Arctic Voyagers': the opening paragraph; the paragraph beginning 'We will merely append' (p. 435); the words within brackets (p. 437).
Dickens had always been an avid reader of travel, exploration, and voyage literature, and was especially fascinated by accounts of fortitude in the face of disaster. He knew well Sir John Franklin's exploits (see, for example, 'Christmas in the Frozen Regions'), and when Franklin and his party disappeared in the arctic, Dickens (like the British public at large) snapped up each theory, rumor, and scrap of information that trickled down from the north. When, after years of speculation and vague reports, Dr. Rae's detailed researches were reported in the press, and when those researches indicated that Franklin's party may have resorted to cannibalism, Dickens - who from childhood had displayed an obsessive interest in the subject - felt impelled to argue against the possibility. 'Dr. Rae's account of Franklin's unfortunate party,' he wrote to Mrs. Richard Watson on 1 November 1854, 'is deeply interesting; but I think hasty in its acceptance of the details, particularly in the statement that they had eaten the dead bodies of their companions, which I don't believe. Franklin, on a former occasion, was almost starved to death, had gone through all the pains of that sad end, and lain down to die, and no such thought had presented itself to any of them. In famous cases of shipwreck, it is very rare indeed that any person of any humanising education or refinement resorts to this dreadful means of prolonging life. In open boats, the coarsest and commonest men of the shipwrecked party have done such things; but I don't remember more than one instance in which an officer had overcome the loathing that the idea had inspired. Dr. Rae talks about their cooking these remains too. I should like to know where the fuel came from.' And a few weeks later (20 November 1854) he wrote to Wills: 'It has occurred to me that I am rather strong on Voyages and Cannibalism, and might do an interesting little paper for next No. on that part of Dr. Rae's report; taking the arguments against its probabilities.'
The result was two long articles by Dickens ('The Lost Arctic Voyagers,' Parts I and II) which appeared in Household Words on 2 and 9 December 1854 [Vol X, Numbers 245 and 246]. The present article (the third to bear the title) is Dr. Rae's reply to Dickens' demurrer, together with Dickens' brief introduction and concluding rebuttal to that reply.

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

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Occasional (Christmas Story; article in Christmas or New Year Number, &c) i
Subjects Christmas; New Year; Holidays and Seasonal Celebrations
Crimean War, 1853-1856
Ethics; Morals; Moral Development; Moral Education; Philosophy; Values
Europe—History
Food; Cooking; Gastronomy; Alcohol; Bars (Drinking Establishments); Restaurants; Dinners and Dining
Gender Identity; Women; Men; Femininity; Masculinity
Great Britain—Armed Forces; Militias
Great Britain—Description and Travel
Great Britain—History
Health; Diseases; Personal Injuries; Hygiene; Cleanliness—Fiction
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
Marriage; Courtship; Love; Sex
Medical care; Nursing; Hospitals; Hospital Care; Surgery; Medicine; Physicians
Travel; Tourism; Hotels; Resorts; Seaside Resorts—Fiction; Passports;
War; Battles; Peace; Military History; Weapons; Soldiers
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In the 1840's Dickens 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). When he founded Household Words in 1850, he continued this tradition, first by seeing to it that the December issues contained pieces appropriate to the season; and second, near the 25th of the month, by devoting an entire number to Christmas. Then, in December 1851, he published what was to become an annual feature of Household Words - a special, extra-long (one and a half times the usual length), separately sold, supplementary Christmas number. At first these numbers were merely a series of nine or ten stories, essays, and poems with a seasonable theme or title. But beginning with the extra Christmas number for 1854, The Seven Poor Travellers, Dickens put the stories within an overall framework by adding special openings and endings and providing brief links between the segments. Dickens himself usually wrote two of the segments (though he sometimes wrote one, sometimes three). He always set the overall theme, and he usually wrote all of the framework. At first the framework was spare and utilitarian (though the dramatic situation was often fanciful); the typical strategy was to bring together a group of strangers and have them while away their time by telling stories (the dramatic situation usually required such a diversion). In the later Christmas numbers, Dickens gave more attention to the framework and to creating a realistic and sometimes suspenseful situation for the storytelling. In the still later Christmas numbers he began to vary the formula itself by writing nonframework narratives in conjunction with a single collaborator.
The Seven Poor Travellers takes place on Christmas Eve in Rochester at the charity hospice founded in 1579 by Richard Watts - an actual hospice that Dickens knew well from his childhood days. According to Watts' will, his hospice was to supply six poor travelers (providing they were not rogues or proctors) with one night's free lodging and entertainment and with fourpence. In the opening section of The Seven Poor Travellers, entitled 'The First,' the narrator - he brings the travelers up to seven - describes the charity, its procedures, its lapses, and its six clients. Dissatisfied by the scanty charity fare, the narrator provides food and wassail for his companions, and then goes on to tell a story, suggesting that the other guests do likewise. The next six sections are given over to the six stories told by the travelers. In the final section, as the Christmas day dawns, the narrator takes leave of his companions and walks up to London and his home.
Dickens probably wrote the introductory passages to the stories of the Second, Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Poor Travellers. The stories themselves were written by George Augustus Sala, Wilkie Collins, Eliza Lynn [afterward Mrs. Lynn Linton], and Adelaide Anne Procter, respectively.
Dickens may also have written or modified the introduction to the story of the Fifth Poor Traveller (the story itself was by George Augustus Sala).
The Seven Poor Travellers is in eight parts of which Dickens wrote, in addition to the framework passages listed above, the first part ('The First') and the eighth ('The Road'). The latter two segments are the only parts included in editions of the Collected Works, but even these parts had to be slightly modified upon collection in order to stand separately (for the history of these and similar redactions, and for evidence that Dickens himself made the changes, see note to The Holly-Tree Inn [1855 Christmas]). The chief change was the deletion made in 'The Road' (see below), but Dickens also modified other elements - usually because they referred to excluded segments. Thus,in 'The First,' 'Shall we beguile the time by telling stories, in our order as we sit here?' became 'Shall I beguile the time by telling you a story as we sit here?'; and in 'The Road,' 'The stories being all finished' became 'My story being finished.' In addition, Dickens appended the subtitle 'In Three Chapters' and changed the names of the parts as follows: from 'The First' to 'Chapter I/The Old City of Rochester,' from the typographical break before the story in 'The First' to 'The Story of Richard Doubledick,' and from 'The Road' to 'Chapter III/The Road.'
Dickens wrote the whole of 'The Road,' but in 1867, when he decided to separate his contribution to The Seven Poor Travellers from the rest of the Christmas number and reprint his share in an edition of his Christmas stories, he left out or rewrote those passages which referred to segments not by him. Editions of the Collected Works have re-printed these writings (usually under the title Christmas Stories) in their 1867 form.

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

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The Road

25/12/1854

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Author Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: Occasional (Christmas Story; article in Christmas or New Year Number, &c) i
Subjects Christmas; New Year; Holidays and Seasonal Celebrations
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
Religion; Religion and Culture
Religion—Christianity—General
Travel; Tourism; Hotels; Resorts; Seaside Resorts—Fiction; Passports;
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Dickens wrote the whole of 'The Road,' but in 1867, when he decided to separate his contribution to The Seven Poor Travellers from the rest of the Christmas number and reprint his share in an edition of his Christmas stories, he left out or rewrote those passages which referred to segments not by him. Editions of the Collected Works have re-printed these writings (usually under the title Christmas Stories) in their 1867 form. See notes to The Seven Poor Travellers and The Holly-Tree Inn [1855 Christmas].

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

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Essay i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subject Great Britain—Politics and Government
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 468

Writing to Miss Burdett Coutts about his deep anxiety concerning the contemporary political scene (25 January 1855; Pilgrim, Vol. VII, pp. 510-513), Dickens tells her, referring to this article, 'I have fired off a small volley of red hot shot, in Household Words next week'.

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Gaslight Fairies

10/2/1855

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Subjects Christmas; New Year; Holidays and Seasonal Celebrations
Popular Culture; Amusements
Supernatural; Superstition; Spiritualism; Clairvoyance; Mesmerism; Ghosts; Fairies; Witches; Magic; Occultism
Theatre; Performing Arts; Performing; Dance; Playwriting; Circus
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Dickens refers in paragraph 3 to the 'big heads' used in Victorian pantomime whereby many of the actors, especially the supers, wore gigantic grotesque heads of papier-mâche, originally used as 'transformation' devices (see G. Frow, 'Oh, Yes, It Is!': A History of Pantomime [1985], pp. 104-105).

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Supposing [v]

10/2/1855

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Editorial i
Prose: Snippet i
Subjects Bureaucracy; Civil Service
Crimean War, 1853-1856
Great Britain—Armed Forces; Militias
Great Britain—Politics and Government
War; Battles; Peace; Military History; Weapons; Soldiers
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 433

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Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Crimean War, 1853-1856
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 466

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