I'm finally taking a moment to respond to Mikhail Simkin's critique of my response to his study. (For those just joining us, a brief recap: Simkin claimed to have proved that there was no substantial difference between the works of Charles Dickens and those of Edward Bulwer-Lytton; a few critics responded in various forums; Simkin attempted to debunk our responses.)
I'll briefly address what I see as his major points, under the cut:
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.
Ian Rons of Cobham, not far from Gad's Hill Place, has won a strand of Dickens's hair. The hair, which was raffled off to raise money to help preserve Dickens's Swiss chalet, will be displayed at the Leather Bottle pub, which appears in The Pickwick Papers.
In 1837, Edward Caswall, using the same publisher and illustrator as the highly successful young Charles Dickens, had a hit with the satirical essay collection Sketches of Young Ladies, describing varying types of ladies: The Romantic Young Lady, The Mysterious Young Lady, The Matter-of-Fact Young Lady, and so forth. Six months later -- as if he weren't busy enough simultaneously writing The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist -- Dickens published an anonymous sequel to this volume, titled Sketches of Young Gentlemen. Two years later he followed it up with Sketches of Young Couples. All three volumes are offered here, with "Phiz's" original illustrations. Caswall's contribution is quite funny, but Dickens, as you might expect, digs more deeply into his characters (giving them names, expanding their amount of dialogue, and so forth) and so extracts even more amusement from them. As Paul Schlicke observes in his introduction, "The contrasts between Caswall's work and Dickens's highlight the ability of Boz to evoke the distinctiveness of a character in a few swift strokes."