Charles Dickens Miniseries
When the publishers of the Pickwick Papers, Chapman & Hall, brought out the anonymous ‘Sketches of Young Ladies’ in 1837, their resounding success prompted the twenty-six-year old Dickens to write, the following year, a companion piece, the ‘Sketches of Young Gentlemen’, followed two years later – to coincide with the engagement of Princess Victoria and Prince Albert – by the ‘Sketches of Young Couples’.
First published in a single volume in 1843, and including the iconic original engravings by Phiz, these satirical portraits not only reveal the dazzling brilliance of young Dickens’s genius, but also offer a humorous glimpse into Victorian mores and attitudes.
The Mudfog Papers, a collection of sketches by Dickens published in Bentley’s Miscellany between 1837 and 1838, describes the local politics of the fictional town of Mudfog – such as the delusions of grandeur of its mayor Nicholas Tulrumble and his disastrous attempts at putting on a public show – and the meetings of its Society for the Advancement of Everything, during which the town is overrun by illustrious scientists and professors conducting ostensibly pointless research.
Written at the same time as Oliver Twist – indeed the serialized version of the novel referred to Mudfog as the protagonist’s home town – The Mudfog Papers lampoons all manner of journalistic and scientific writing of the time and showcases the young Dickens at his satirical best.
After a traumatic early childhood spent living in poverty in a Preston cellar, the suddenly orphaned George Silverman grows up convinced that he is at fault for all the misfortunes in his life. Hoodwinked by hypocritical clergymen and exploited by his employer, he finds himself forsaking love and facing professional ruin.
One of Dickens’s very last writings, George Silverman’s Explanation is a dark and psychologically insightful investigation of failure and guilt. This volume also includes two other lesser-known pieces of fiction by Dickens: the novella for children ‘Holiday Romance’ and the detective story ‘Hunted Down’.
A literary phenomenon in his lifetime and renowned as much for his journalism and public speaking as for his novels, Charles Dickens (1812–70) now ranks as the most important Victorian writer and one of the most influential and popular authors in the English language. His memorable and vividly rendered characters and his combination of humour, trenchant satire and compassion have left an indelible mark on our collective imagination.