Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Read Books: The Old Curiosity Shop

Correspondence between yr humble scribe and Charles Dickens:

17/07/2012

Sir,

I have recently finished reading your novel, The Old Curiosity Shop, which was originally serialised in the publication Master Humphrey's Clock. I wish to congratulate you on your excellent depiction of attempting to deal with a relative with a gambling addiction, and your entertaining story of dealing with a man addicted to being a d---. I must also admire your craft in creating such a sensation in the public over the fate of Little Nell.

However, if I have one criticism, it is this; that the novel is distinctly lacking in badassery. If you could correct this in your next novel, which I believe will be serialised under the title Barnaby Rudge, you will have proved yourself not only the most Popular, but also one of the Greatest men of letters in the English language.

Yours Faithfully,

Neil W---

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07/02/1841

Sir,

Thank you for your kind words regarding my recent work, which you have certainly read and commented on in a timely manner. Unfortunately due to the confusion in the date and the unsuitable language I will not be able to publish your letter.

I am unfamiliar with the word "badassery". In attempting to puzzle over it's meaning, I have broken it down. As for "bad", there are certainly several "bad" characters in the novel, notably Daniel Quilp, possibly the most repulsive of my creations. The word "ass" is more of a puzzle; a notable quadruped makes several appearances, but he is clearly defined as a pony. In addition, he is not so much bad as irascible. If you refer to the word metaphorically, then, again, Mr Quilp could well be an a--.

I will leave you with one final thought; as you are no doubt aware many people including close and dear friends of mine expressed an opinion on their desired ending of The Old Curiosity Shop before it's conclusion. In the end I followed my own advice, as I intend to with future works.

Yours Faithfully,

Charles Dickens.

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For more of my Dickens reviews, most of which are more useful than this one, click here.
To read The Old Curiosity Shop online, click here.

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