Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 15.djvu/36

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was intensely fond of his children (see Mrs. Dickens’s interesting account in Cornhill Magazine, January 1880); he loved dogs, and had a fancy for keeping large and eventually savage mastiffs and St. Bernards; and he was kind even to contributors. His weaknesses are sufficiently obvious, and are reflected in his writings. If literary fame could be safely measured by popularity with the half-educated, Dickens must claim the highest position among English novelists. It is said, apparently on authority (Mr. Mowbray Morris in Fortnightly Review for December 1882) that 4,239,000 volumes of his works had been sold in England in the twelve years after his death. The criticism of more severe critics chiefly consists in the assertion that his merits are such as suit the half-educated. They admit his fun to be irresistible; his pathos, they say, though it shows boundless vivacity, implies little real depth or tenderness of feeling; and his amazing powers of observation were out of proportion to his powers of reflection. The social and political views, which he constantly inculcates, imply a deliberate preference of spontaneous instinct to genuine reasoned conviction; his style is clear, vigorous, and often felicitous, but mannered and more forcible than delicate; he writes too clearly for readers who cannot take a joke till it has been well hammered into their heads; his vivid perception of external oddities passes into something like hallucination; and in his later books the constant strain to produce effects only legitimate when spontaneous becomes painful. His books are therefore inimitable caricatures of contemporary ‘humours’ rather than the masterpieces of a great observer of human nature. The decision between these and more eulogistic opinions must be left to a future edition of this dictionary.

Dickens’s works are:

  1. ‘Sketches by Boz, illustrative of Everyday Life and Everyday People,’ 2 vols. 1835, 2nd series, 1 vol. December 1836, illustrated by Cruikshank (from the ‘Monthly Magazine,’ the ‘Morning’ and ‘Evening Chronicle,’ ‘Bell’s Life in London,’ and the ‘Library of Fiction’).
  2. ‘Sunday under Three Heads: as it is; as Sabbath-bills would make it; as it might be. By Timothy Sparks,’ illustrated by H. K. Browne, June 1836.
  3. ‘The Strange Gentleman,’ a comic burletta in two parts 1837 (produced 29 Sept. 1836 at the St. James’s Theatre).
  4. ‘The Village Coquettes,’ a comic opera in two parts, December 1836 (songs separately in 1837).
  5. ‘Is she his Wife? or Something Singular;’ a comic burletta acted at St. James’s Theatre, 6 March 1837, printed at Boston, 1877.
  6. ‘Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club,’ November 1837 (originally in monthly numbers from April 1836 to November 1837), illustrated by Seymour, Bass, and H. K. Browne.
  7. ‘Mudfog Papers,’ in ‘Bentley’s Miscellany’ (1837-9); reprinted in 1880.
  8. ‘Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi; edited by Boz,’ 2 vols. 1838.
  9. ‘Oliver Twist; or the Parish Boy’s Progress,’ 2 vols. October 1838 (in ‘Bentley’s Miscellany,’ January 1837 to March 1839), illustrated by Cruikshank.
  10. ‘Sketches of Young Gentlemen,’ illustrated by H. K. Browne, 1838.
  11. ‘Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,’ October 1839).
  12. ‘Sketches of Young Couples, with an Urgent Remonstrance to the Gentlemen of England (being bachelors or widowers) at the present alarming Crisis,’ 1840, illustrated by H. K. Browne.
  13. ‘Master Humphrey’s Clock,’ in eighty-eight weekly numbers, from 4 April 1840 to 27 Nov. 1841, first volume published September 1840; second volume published March 1841; third November 1841: illustrated by George Cattermole and H. K. Browne (‘Old Curiosity Shop’ from vol. i. 37 to vol. ii. 223; ‘Barnaby Rudge’ from vol. ii. 229 to vol. iii. 420).
  14. ‘The Pic-Nic Papers,’ by various hands, edited by Charles Dickens, who wrote the preface and the first story, ‘The Lamplighter’ (the farce on which the story was founded was printed in 1879), 3 vols. 1841 (Dickens had nothing to do with the third volume, Letters, ii. 91).
  15. ‘American Notes for General Circulation,’ 2 vols. 1842.
  16. ‘A Christmas Carol in Prose; being a Ghost Story of Christmas,’ illustrated by Leech, 1843.
  17. ‘The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit,’ illustrated by H. K. Browne, July 1844 (originally in monthly numbers from January 1843 to July 1844).
  18. ‘Evenings of a Working Man,’ by John Overs, with a preface relative to the author by Charles Dickens, 1844.
  19. ‘The Chimes; a Goblin Story of some Bells that Rang an Old Year out and a New Year in,’ Christmas, 1844; illustrated by Maclise, Stanfield, R. Doyle, and J. Leech.
  20. ‘The Cricket on the Hearth; a Fairy Tale of Home,’ Christmas, 1845; illustrated by Maclise, Stanfield, C. Landseer, R. Doyle, and J. Leech.
  21. ‘Pictures from Italy,’ 1846 (originally in ‘Daily News’ from January to March 1846, where it appeared as a series of ‘Travelling Letters written on the Road’).
  22. ‘The Battle of Life; a Love Story,’ Christmas, 1846; illustrated by Maclise, Stanfield, R. Doyle, and J. Leech.
  23. ‘Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son, Wholesale, Retail, and for Exportation,’ April 1848; illustrated by H. K. Browne (originally in monthly numbers from October 1846 to April 1848).