Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Charles Dickens!

Today marks the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of my very favourite author, Charles Dickens. I didn't start reading Dickens until university, where it was love at first book. Discovering Dickens also helped cement my move from pre-med to English. (Well, that and organic chemistry, yipes.) This Christmas, I read The Chimes, a Christmas story reminiscent of the more famous A Christmas Carol, for the first time. In it, Dickens is even more critical of the divide between the rich and poor, and the little he felt was being done to help those most in need -- very 1% versus 99%, and written a century and a half ago! 
Besides having one or more editions of all Dickens' novels (no first editions, though!) I have quite a collection of Dickens ephemera. In honour of the great man's birthday, here is some of it. 

This isn't my very oldest edition of a Dickens' book (although with some it's hard to tell; wouldn't it have been nice if publishers had always dated their work?) but it may be the most fun. Advertisements on the inside covers are for the likes of Dr. J. Collis Browne's Chlorodyne ("the best remedy known for coughs and colds, asthma, bronchitis") and Stuart's Plaster Pads ("truss troubles vanish forever"). It dates from around 1909-10. 

Also from 1909, The Children's Dickens is subtitled "Stories Selected from Various Tales", and includes such chapters as "The Tale of Tiny Tim" and "Little Paul Dombey". It also has line illustrations and great coloured plates. 

A monthly calendar from 1917, there is a page for each month with several quotes and a teeny calendar at the bottom of the page.

A 1920 first edition, with a quotation for every day in the year.

I'm not enough of a fanatic to subscribe to any scholarly Dickens journals, but I do have this copy of The Dickensian from the winter of 1930/31, and a copy of The Dickens Quarterly from 1989. Sample article title from The Dickensian: Who Was Jasper? Sample article title from The Dickens Quarterly: The First of the Singles: Watkins Tottle. (I haven't a clue what that means, either.)

As a kid, I always liked Ladybird Books, so when the school library where I was teaching discarded this, I was more than happy to snap it up. It's from 1965. 

A children's book about Dickens' visit to Montreal in 1842. (He also visited Niagara Falls, Toronto, Kingston, Qu├ębec City and St. John's while in Canada. Of his visit, Dickens wrote: "But Canada has held, and will always retain, a foremost place in my remembrance." American Notes, 1842) 

Yes, there's a Charles Dickens cookbook! Perhaps not a lot of recipes that I will ever make (tripe and onions, anyone?) but for me, a must-have.

Happy birthday, C.D.! 
Pin It Now!


Jen W. said...

Wow! What an awesome collection! Do you store them in any special way? I have an autographed copy of "To Kill A Mockingbird" and I always wonder if I should be taking better care of it...

Emily Leiphart said...

Wow, that is quite a collection, Linds! Nice photography of it, too. I can see some of these covers inspiring some cards! Thanks for sharing some of these awesome publications. ;)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely collection of "Dickensia". One of my favourite literary possessions is a copy of Jane Eyre which belonged to my grandfather and has the author as "Currer Bell" not Charlotte Bronte.

Thanks for your kind comments and emails lately, I really appreciate your encouragement and interest in my creating.
Heather T.

Lisa Arana said...

I will have to admit I do not know much about Dickens, but I do love to read and to look at old books though. Love that you shared.

Savannah O'Gwynn said...

WOW! What a collection! I am not a fan of reading--I didn't learn how to really read until about 6th grade....and I'm super slow! But one of my goals this year is to read a book (I've got to start somewhere!). I will have to check into this Charles Dickens! TFS:)

craftyb said...

Wow that's an impressive collection!bx

Kary said...

Wow what a collection! It's been a long time since I last read Dickens. You are a serious fan. I'm thoroughly impressed ;) have a fab day!!

Karin said...

I love this post! Such an awesome writer he was...No on can turn a phrase like him :) Reading A Christmas Carol ( Great Lakes Theatre Company here does a wonderful stage production of it too!) is a holiday tradition for us :)

Angela said...

Ok, I knew you were a serious fan, but not that you were also a serious collector -- what cool stuff! Also, I read The Chimes last year around Christmas and felt the same sense of time warp-y-ness.

What a gorgeous collection.