Everyone in Dickens - Vol. 1

Everyone in Dickens - Vol. 1

Everyone in Dickens - Vol. 1

Everyone in Dickens - Vol. 1

Excerpt

When I was being trained to be a lawyer, I heard a lot about the Law: about its theory and its rhetoric; but the essential insight of the case method, not always shared with me by my teachers, was that the accurate marshalling of all the relevant facts was the fundamental prerequisite to any useful work (there is an idealism implicit in this statement, now that I think of it, which might explain why I am no longer a lawyer). I learned, if I had not already known, that in life the facts are always surprising and fascinating, if not absolutely bizarre. They are far more interesting in their raw state than when interpreted, no matter how scrupulous and dispassionate the interpreter.

The facts of fiction are the same. Everyone in Dickens (EID) retrieves many, and it organizes them for accessibility, utility to scholarship and pleasure to the amateur as well as the professional Dickensian. It exists for the people, scholars and just readers, who would like to be able to find beloved Dickens characters quickly, discover new ones, and have a trove of accessible data on the man and his creations from which to choose works to read or reread, or to embark on their own explorations and develop their own conclusions.

There has never before been a work of reference on Dickens which attempted to address every work attributed to him. (Where doubt exists, we have erred on the side of inclusion but we mention the doubts.) And never before has his oeuvre (speeches excepted) been arranged in the strictest practicable chronological order. It's no surprise that the story of Dickens's literary life is told when his people are assembled in the order of their appearance.

Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812-1870) wrote fourteen complete novels and half of another. We know so far (scholars will go on discovering) and reflect below that he created five Christmas Books and twenty Christmas Stories, some in collaboration, plus nine independent interpolations, twelve frameworks and much transitional material, set forth below in haec verba, for his beloved Christmas Numbers; 56 Sketches by Boz ranging from pure reporting to incandescently imagining to sheer fun-making; twelve drama reviews and 25 reports, mostly political, on assignment from The Morning Chronicle; a three-part pamphlet opposing restrictions on Sunday pleasures for the working class; 23 facetious sketches and a "remonstrance" on the foibles of young gentlemen and young couples; and 47 pieces (three in collaboration) for the Examiner, his friend Forster's journal. There were four . . .

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