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Mr. Bendigo Buster on Our National Defences against Education

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Authors Charles Dickens
Henry Morley
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Digest; Review i
Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Education—Europe; Universities and Colleges; Schools
Education—Great Britain; Universities and Colleges; Schools
National Characteristics; Nationalism
Other Details
Printed : 28/12/1850
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume II
Magazine : No. 40
Office Book Notes
MemoPrussian school system.
Views : 724

Dickens probably wrote the following portions of 'Mr. Bendigo Buster on Our National Defences Against Education': from 'Whereas, go into any' to 'I call it Prussian' (p. 314); the paragraph beginning 'Here's a pretty coil' (p. 317); the paragraph beginning 'It is the same' (p. 318).
Dickens may also have retouched or added to the following sections: from the opening to 'with a will' (p. 313); from 'but I consider pauperism' to 'knock 'em down' (p. 314); from 'What I say of a boy' to 'that's the jockey to manage children!' (p. 315); the paragraph beginning 'That's the machine' (p. 316); from 'I say no more' (p. 318) to the conclusion.
In addition, Dickens seems to have emended many other passages.
Of this piece Dickens wrote to Wills on 12 December 1850: 'This proof of Morley's, when corrected, will require to be very carefully looked to. I had better go over it myself. I can't make out whether he means Mr. Buster to be actually a prize-fighter, or a person in the position of a gentleman with prizefighting tastes. I have adopted the latter hypothesis, as involving less inconsistency and incongruity.' It is not clear whether Dickens had already made alterations in the article and wished new proof, or whether he was referring to revisions he contemplated making. In any case, a subsequent letter to Wills written that afternoon seems to indicate that he reworked the article later that day. The second letter [...] now in the Huntington Library, states that he was sending the altered paper directly on to Wills' home.
'Bendigo' was the nickname of William Thompson, a famous pugilist who achieved his most notable victories in 1850.

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

Mostly from Joseph Kay, The Social Condition and Education of the People in England and Europe (1850).

See also 'Mr. Bendigo Buster on the Model Cottages', Household Words, III, No. 67.

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