Unpublished Charles Dickens Letters To Go On Display

By: Brandon Williams, August 30th, 2022 5:08 pm.

Eleven letters written by author Charles Dickens that have never before been published are set to go on display for the very first time.

The letters were acquired by the Charles Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street in London.

Some of the most interesting content in the letters are the insights they offer into his reading habits and writing project. He also wrote about a trip to Switzerland.

In one letter from February 10th 1866, he wrote about losing Sunday postal service. “I beg to say that I most decidedly and strongly object to the infliction of any such inconvenience upon myself.”

“There are many people in this village of Higham, probably, who do not receive or dispatch in a year, as many letters as I usually receive and dispatch in a day … I am on the best terms with my neighbours, poor and rich, and I believe they would be sorry to lose me.”

“But I should be so hampered by the proposed restriction that I think it would force me to sell my property here, and leave this part of the country.”

The museum not only acquired these letters, but over three hundred items in total, from a U.S.-based collector. Other items include personal objects, portraits, sketches, playbills and books. It was acquired with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, Friends of the National Libraries and the Dickens Fellowship.

“One of the best things about this collection of letters is that it shows Dickens writing in his 30s, 40s and 50s and the variety of topics that were occupying his mind,” said Emily Dunbar, museum curator.

“The letter complaining about the loss of Sunday postal delivery is a great example of Dickens showing self-importance, his awareness of his great fame and position in society coming to the fore.”

“He also mentions the huge volume of letters leaving and arriving at his address, of which this new set is a tiny but entertaining fraction.”

Charles Dickens is widely considered one of the greatest novelists of all time. Some of his classics include The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and more. He lived from 1812 to 1870, and rests in Poets’ Corner in London’s Westminster Abbey.

The exhibit will be on display at the museum as well as on the website beginning Wednesday.

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