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My Mahogany Friend

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Authors Mary Louisa Boyle
Charles Dickens
Genre Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Commercial Products (Commodities); Material Culture; Shopping; Advertising
Family Life; Families; Domestic Relations; Sibling Relations; Kinship; Home;
Details
Index
Other Details
Printed : 8/3/1851
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume II
Magazine : No. 50
Office Book Notes
Memo-
Columns8.75
Payment£3.3.0
Views : 1169

Though the initial version of 'My Mahogany Friend' was by Mary Boyle, the published version was thoroughly reworked by Dickens. In a letter to Miss Boyle dated 21 February 1851, Dickens apologized for heavily editing and rewriting the piece:

I have devoted a couple of hours this evening to going very carefully over your paper (which I had read before) and to endeavouring to bring it closer, and to lighten it, and to give it that sort of compactness which a habit of composition, and of disciplining one's thoughts like a regiment, and of studying the art of putting each soldier into his right place, may have gradually taught me to think necessary. I hope, when you see it in print, you will not be alarmed by my use of the pruning-knife. I have tried to exercise it with the utmost delicacy and discretion, and to suggest to you, especially towards the end, how this sort of writing (regard being had to the size of the journal in which it appears) requires to be compressed, and is made pleasanter by compression. This all reads very solemnly, but only because I want you to read it (I mean the article) with as loving an eye as I have truly tried to touch it with a loving and gentle hand. I propose to call it 'My Mahogany Friend!' The other name is too long, and I think not attractive. I think there are many things in it that are very pretty. The Katie part is particularly well done.

Dickens' revisions, though mostly editorial, seem ubiquitous and transforming - a contribution acknowledged in the Contributors' Book by his designation as joint author.

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

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