Though they didn't always see eye-to-eye, both Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope knew what it was to be a giant of Victorian literature, and both had, at some level, an appreciation of each other's talent. Dickens once wrote of Trollope (in an 1869 letter to Trollope's brother), "He is a perfect cordial to me, whenever and wherever I see him, as the heartiest and best of fellows."
So let us Dickensians wish Mr. Trollope a very happy bicentenary!
Because it's National Handwriting Day, I thought I'd share a couple of samples of Dickens's handwriting here! First up: the beginning of Great Expectations, demonstrating that even the greatest of the greats had frequent scratchouts and rewritings.
And here's a picture of Dickens's signature with its famous flourish. At the Dickens Fellowship Conference last summer, we had a whole session on that flourish, its meanings, and how it changed over the years.
"I have always striven in my writings to express veneration for the life and lessons of Our Saviour, because I feel it; and because I rewrote that history for my children every one of whom knew it from having it repeated to them long before they could read, and almost as soon as they could speak."
Charles Dickens, letter to John M. Makeham, June 8, 1870
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.