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Idiots

4/6/1853

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Authors Charles Dickens
W[illiam] H[enry] Wills
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Subjects Medical care; Nursing; Hospitals; Hospital Care; Surgery; Medicine; Physicians
People with Disabilities; Human Body—Social Aspects; Human Bodies in Literature
Psychology; Psychiatry; Mental Health; Mind-Body Relations (Metaphysics)
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Dickens probably wrote the following portions of 'Idiots': the opening paragraph; from 'To this establishment' (p. 316) to the conclusion.
In addition, Dickens seems to have added touches elsewhere - for example, the interjection beginning '- whose name has a peculiar attraction' (p. 314). For a discussion of the Dickens-Wills attributions, see note to 'Valentine's Day at the Post-Office'.
'Idiots' grew out of a visit to Park House Asylum, Highgate. Park House and its sister institution, Essex Hall Asylum, near Colchester, were closely associated with Dickens' friend, Dr. John Conolly (1794-1866), a pioneer in the humane treatment of the insane. Dickens and Wills planned the visit and the article with a view to helping these new institutions. In an unpublished letter to Wills (14 April 1853), now in the Huntington Library, Dickens discussed with Wills the arrangements then being concluded with Conolly for visits to Highgate and Colchester. The plan was to tour Highgate (probably on 21 April) and to decide on the basis of that visit whether it would be advisable to tour Colchester as well. Apparently the latter visit was not deemed necessary.
The treatment of the insane, like the treatment of the blind, the deaf, the poor, the sick, and the criminal, always interested Dickens. He often visited insane asylums, and his writings - from Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839) to Little Dorrit (1855-1857), and from American Notes (1842) to All the Year Round (1859-1870) - attest to his lifelong interest in the nature and treatment of insanity. For another article by Dickens and Wills on an institution for the mentally ill, see 'A Curious Dance Round a Curious Tree'.

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

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Author William Moy Thomas
Genre Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Crime; Criminals; Punishment; Capital Punishment; Prisons; Penal Transportation; Penal Colonies
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
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House-Tops

4/6/1853

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Author George Dodd
Genre Prose: Essay i
Subject Architecture; Building; Housing; Property; Landlord and Tenant;
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 454

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Author William Allingham
Genre Poetry: Lyric i
Subject Nature; Nature (Aesthetics); Nature in Literature; Landscapes
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 597

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Holiday Times

4/6/1853

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Author Edmund Saul Dixon
Genre Prose: Essay i
Subjects Christmas; New Year; Holidays and Seasonal Celebrations
France—Social Life and Customs
Great Britain—Social Life and Customs
National Characteristics; Nationalism
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 350

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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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4/6/1853

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Genre Advertisement(s) i
Subjects Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
Newspapers; Periodicals; Journalism
Attachments: 0 · Links: 0 · Hits: 358
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