Dickens's Journalism 1850-1870

Extollager

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To complement a thread devoted to Charles Dickens's first book, Sketches by Boz,

http://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/534910/

here's a thread for his nonfiction writing in his last 20 years of life, including "Night Walks"! I will use the Penguin Classics book Selected Journalism 1850-1870, edited by David Pascoe, but if you have Dickens's series The Uncommercial Traveller, you'll have the source of many of these pieces.
 

GOLLUM

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To complement a thread devoted to Charles Dickens's first book, Sketches by Boz,

http://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/534910/

here's a thread for his nonfiction writing in his last 20 years of life, including "Night Walks"! I will use the Penguin Classics book Selected Journalism 1850-1870, edited by David Pascoe, but if you have Dickens's series The Uncommercial Traveller, you'll have the source of many of these pieces.
I have the Uncommercial Traveler but presumably there are some pieces not available here? Please clarify as I would purchase this if there were enough pieces not published elsewhere.

I also have his other travelogues:
American Notes
Pictures From Italy
Dickens on France *annotated collected travel writings. letters and journals on France.
 

Extollager

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Gollum, a quick scan suggests to me that about a quarter of the pieces in the Penguin edition are "Uncommercial Traveller" items, originally printed in All the Year Round, a periodical. The remainder appear to be from Household Words, a periodical that, I believe, Dickens edited as well as wrote for.
 

Extollager

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I read again "Chambers" -- a sketch of some interest in itself, but the admirer of Arthur Machen's London writings (including much of his autobiographical work) will attend to the Gray's Inn Road locale and the reference to "Verulam-buildings"; and to the theme of loneliness. "I look upon Gray's Inn generally as one of the most depressing institutions in brick and mortar, known to the children of men. Can anything be more dreary than its arid Square, Sahara Desert of the Law" -- But I interrupt Dickens to note that, while Machen certainly described again and again the dreariness of London, he also -- playfully, seriously, both? -- might have picked up that very idea of a remote place that even evokes a kind of sublimity -- "Sahara" -- and run with it.

Well, anyway, here's the passage:

Indeed, I look upon Gray's Inn generally as one of the most depressing institutions in brick and mortar, known to the children of men. Can anything be more dreary than its arid Square, Sahara Desert of the law, with the ugly old tiled-topped tenements, the dirty windows, the bills To Let, To Let, the door-posts inscribed like gravestones, the crazy gateway giving upon the filthy Lane, the scowling iron-barred prison-like passage into Verulam-buildings, the mouldy red-nosed ticket-porters with little coffin plates, and why with aprons, the dry hard atomy-like appearance of the whole dust-heap? When my uncommercial travels tend to this dismal spot, my comfort is its rickety state. Imagination gloats over the fulness of time when the staircases shall have quite tumbled down - they are daily wearing into an ill-savoured powder, but have not quite tumbled down yet - when the last old prolix bencher all of the olden time, shall have been got out of an upper window by means of a Fire Ladder, and carried off to the Holborn Union; when the last clerk shall have engrossed the last parchment behind the last splash on the last of the mud-stained windows, which, all through the miry year, are pilloried out of recognition in Gray's Inn-lane. Then, shall a squalid little trench, with rank grass and a pump in it, lying between the coffee-house and South-square, be wholly given up to cats and rats, and not, as now, have its empire divided between those animals and a few briefless bipeds - surely called to the Bar by voices of deceiving spirits, seeing that they are wanted there by no mortal - who glance down, with eyes better glazed than their casements, from their dreary and lack-lustre rooms. Then shall the way Nor' Westward, now lying under a short grim colonnade where in summer-time pounce flies from law-stationering windows into the eyes of laymen, be choked with rubbish and happily become impassable. Then shall the gardens where turf, trees, and gravel wear a legal livery of black, run rank, and pilgrims go to Gorhambury to see Bacon's effigy as he sat, and not come here (which in truth they seldom do) to see where he walked. Then, in a word, shall the old-established vendor of periodicals sit alone in his little crib of a shop behind the Holborn Gate, like that lumbering Marius among the ruins of Carthage, who has sat heavy on a thousand million of similes.
 
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Extollager

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I propose soon to post here some comments on a trilogy of pieces, all reprinted from Dickens's Uncommercial Traveller in the Penguin Selected Journalism 1850-1870, on walking. They are discussed briefly in Merlin Coverley's The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker, pp. 137-140 (just before the author writes about Arthur Machen's walking).

They are, in order:

"Night Walking"
"Shy Neighbourhoods"
"On an Amateur Beat"

I hope some Chronsfolk will read these three sketches and turn a monologue into a conversation.
dickens-walking.png
 

Extollager

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"Night Walking" is one of Dickens's most extended efforts in the macabre, while "Shy Neighbourhoods" pleased me as an amusing, whimsical account of animal inhabitants of London -- beasts of burden, cats, dogs, etc.
temple-church-by-night.jpg

Dickens had a well-stocked mind. I think that, perhaps because he was so obviously an enormously popular writer, he sometimes isn't recognized as being as resourceful as he is in drawing upon literature, history, politics, etc. I recommend both of these sketches.
 

Bick

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I'm not sure if this is the right place to mention this, but I just picked up, in a rather good used book store, a c.1920 edition of American Notes and Pictures of Italy, in one vgc clean red volume. The edition is from the Encyclopedia Britannica "Works of Charles Dickens" special edition, printed in England, and undated (but generally thought to be ~1920). This travalogue volume (Vol 22 from the collected edition) is a lovely find for me as I have all his finished novels in new hardback editions from the Everyman's Library but that collection doesn't offer any of Chucks journalism at all. The book has Marcus Stone illustrations, prefaces etc., is bound in quarter leather, with red cloth boards, mottled red leather on the spine with gilt lettering. Its a doozy; super!
 

Vince W

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I'm not sure if this is the right place to mention this, but I just picked up, in a rather good used book store, a c.1920 edition of American Notes and Pictures of Italy, in one vgc clean red volume. The edition is from the Encyclopedia Britannica "Works of Charles Dickens" special edition, printed in England, and undated (but generally thought to be ~1920). This travalogue volume (Vol 22 from the collected edition) is a lovely find for me as I have all his finished novels in new hardback editions from the Everyman's Library but that collection doesn't offer any of Chucks journalism at all. The book has Marcus Stone illustrations, prefaces etc., is bound in quarter leather, with red cloth boards, mottled red leather on the spine with gilt lettering. Its a doozy; super!

Pictures, please! On the other hand, maybe not. I'll just end up coveting yet another book.
 

Guillermo Stitch

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This a fabulous thread for a reader who has exhausted his fiction options with Dickens and who has read Sketches by Boz and The Mudfog Papers and who still isn't satisfied. Are there good digital editions of his non-fiction?
 

Extollager

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Welcome to Chrons, Guillermo!

Others might be able to help with regard to your question about digital editions -- I don't know. I would guess that Project Gutenberg has The Uncommercial Traveller available for a free download. That's the book with some of his best journalism.
 

Guillermo Stitch

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I now own a Kindle edition of The Uncommercial Traveller and am very grateful for the recommendation. Should get to it mid-to-late summer, when Im hoping it'll help me get onto the right wavelength (as his fiction has done) with something I'm writing.
 

Guillermo Stitch

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Yes I'm looking forward to that in particular. I have a frustrating few weeks to wait while I polish off other projects, reading and otherwise, and then I'll dive in.
 

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