An 1837 letter from Dickens to John Forster, presenting him with an "extra super bound" copy of The Pickwick Papers, will be auctioned off on Friday. The Daily Mail has the details and a very good photo of the letter.
An 1858 letter from Dickens to his solicitor, making arrangements related to his and Catherine's separation, was found in an old Bible in Blockley, England. Naturally, the papers chose to sensationalize it as being about "his desperation to be rid of his wife," though in fact it conveys no such message.
Upon my return from London for events surrounding the Dickens Bicentenary. I received an email from a fellow Dickens Web site owner, Ritva Raesmaa, from Finland. She also attended the events, although sadly I did not meet her. She summed up the few days in London as a “once in a lifetime” trip . . . and I heartily agree!
I don't know if I believe in handwriting analysis, but I find it fascinating. One expert, Allie Bradley, tried her hand at analyzing two samples of Dickens's handwriting. All these samples told me was that his handwriting was hard to read, but she deduced several personality traits from them. How do you think she did?
I wonder whether Dickens ever would have made it there himself had he lived in modern times. Somehow I'm doubtful. Victorian rock star he may have been, but I'm not sure I can see him enjoying the celebrity lifestyle.
Some lucky collectors have made off with some wonderful Dickens memorabilia lately, including autographed books and personal letters. My favorite item that recently went up for auction: a copy of The Pickwick Papersinscribed by Dickens to Hans Christian Andersen. Why that one didn't sell, I can't imagine; I'd SO much rather have that than an unsigned Bleak House, even if the latter was the original serialized version.
And then there was the collector who spent $9150 on Dickens's . . . retractable toothpick. Seriously. His toothpick. Look, I love the man, but there are limits. Although if there were any hope of retrieving a bit of DNA from it, and hiring someone with expertise in cloning . . .