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Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 2 Apr 2016 17:55:03 -0700
text/plain (202 lines)
Friends of the Dickens Forum,

We had noted earlier that Dickens was known to send explanatory letters 
to would-be contributors
to *ATYR*.  Here Bob Davis <[log in to unmask]> calls attention 
to a well-known
instance of such help:         (pjm)
> Dear Bob Newsom, Patrick and all the Dickens-listers,
> While I agree with all the correspondents that Dickens probably had some
> reason to be a bit sharp in his reply to Ms. Marryat, he sometimes went to
> extremes in helping those close to him, e.g.:
> He recommended Frances Eleanor Trollope (née Ternan, sister of Ellen) to
> Thomas Adolphus Trollope to be a governess to his daughter, Bicé Trollope,
> in Florence, after the death of Mrs. Trollope. Eventually, Frances married
> Thomas. Dickens advanced her literary career (she was also later the
> biographer of her mother-in-law, Frances Milton Trollope) by publishing her
> throughout her career in *All the Year Round*. Except for the biography,
> Frances [Ternan] Trollope seldom found outside publishers. Moreover,
> Dickens had earlier likely helped finance and foste Frances Ternan's
> musical career.
> Dickens appears to me not to have been immune to insider preferences. he
> was human, indeed.
> Bob Davis
> On Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 1:32 PM, Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> Friends of the Dickens Forum.
>>      The following post from Robert Newsom <[log in to unmask]>
>> <[log in to unmask]> has--bewilderingly--
>> chosen to reach some Dickns-ellers and not others.  To iron out the
>> wrinkle we are re-sending
>> Bob's post with a nod to the cybernetic gods.
>>      By the by,  four others of you have sent posts not yet distributed.
>> We will get your thoughts on the
>> way in short order.
>>                  (pjm)
>> I don't think the letter is particularly rude nor atypical. Dickens
>> bristled whenever he thought his professionalism was in question, and in
>> this case he seems to have been offended by the request that he go over the
>> submission in great detail and offer a paragraph-by-paragraph critique
>> showing the writer where she had gone wrong.
>> Perhaps she presumed that, being the daughter of a writer Dickens
>> considered a friend, she could expect to receive special handling. But CD
>> would have found that extremely unprofessional in an aspiring writer,
>> whether or not the child of a friend. And truly he did not have the time
>> for such favors. Perhaps the length of his reply testifies to his
>> friendship with Maryatt in a backhanded way. A true nobody might have
>> received no reply at all. (As the child of a writer you of all people
>> really should know better.)
>> None of this should be difficult for the people at the Telegraph or Bonhams
>> to fathom. They are professionals too.
>> On Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 10:38 AM, Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Friends of the Dickens Forum,
>>      The circumstances around the writing of a newly discovered letter are
>> being guessed at in the
>> following newspaper article.  Fortunately some of Dickens's writing is
>> included, and we can wait
>> to learn what occasioned the letter.
>>      We recall accounts of would-be contributors to CD's periodicals
>> boasting to friends that they
>> "had received a letter from HIM."  In short, receiving an explanatory
>> turn-down from CD was
>> usually much valued by the writer.
>>                                  (pjm)
>> Unseen Charles Dickens letter reveals rude retort to fan
>> A letter has emerged at auction revealing the darker side of Charles
>> Dickens, and a distinct lack of patience
>> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/12184001/Unseen-Charles-Dickens-letter-reveals-rude-retort-to-fan.html
>> [image: A tale of two Dickens? The letter reveals the famous writer may
>> have had had a short temper]
>> *A tale of two Dickens? The letter reveals the famous writer may have had
>> had a short temper*
>> [image: Hannah Furness]<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/hannah-furness/> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/hannah-furness/>
>> By Hannah Furness <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/hannah-furness/> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/hannah-furness/>,
>> Arts Correspondent
>> 12:00PM GMT 05 Mar 2016
>> When your father's close friend is one of the best-loved writers in the
>> history of English literature, not to mention editor of his own journal, it
>> would not be unreasonable to request a small leg-up for one's own fledgling
>> career.
>> Not if that friend is *Charles Dickens.*<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/>
>> An 1860 letter from the author, never published before now, reveals one
>> such would-be author was given short shrift after asking for advice, after
>> *Dickens*<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/10580182/Charles-Dickens-in-pictures.html> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/10580182/Charles-Dickens-in-pictures.html>
>> berated her for having the temerity to bother him.
>> The autographed note, described as "wonderfully rude" was sent from
>> *Dickens*<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9018185/Dickenss-London-in-pictures.html> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9018185/Dickenss-London-in-pictures.html>
>> to Florence Marryat, the daughter of his friend Captain Frederick Marryat,
>> the author of Children of the New Forest.
>> She had offered him a short story for consideration in his journal All The
>> Year Round, asking for advice on any parts he felt did not work.
>> Instead, she received a furious three-page missive, declaring the story
>> entirely uninteresting and her request "scarcely reasonable".
>> [image: Florence Maryat]
>> *Florence Maryatt  Photo: National Portrait Gallery*
>> The letter, which is believed to have passed from the family into a
>> Victorian autograph collection, has now emerged at auction where its
>> contents can be shared with the public for the first time.
>> It will go on sale at Bonhams on March 16, with an estimate of £2-3,000.
>> Matthew Haley, head of Bonhams book department, said: "The *letter*<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9512328/Charles-Dickens-letter-surfaces-after-150-years.html> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9512328/Charles-Dickens-letter-surfaces-after-150-years.html>
>> seems to show him at the point of tearing his hair out.
>> "He's absolutely eviscerating this budding author. Very often his letter
>> are quite polite and menial, so it is a surprise to see him going off on
>> one about how rubbish her writing is.
>> "He could just have been having a bad day, of course, and she later
>> dedicated one of her books to him so does not seem to have held any
>> grudges."
>> In the letter, Dickens told Miss Marryat his sole objective at the journal
>> was to elicit the best writing possible.
>> "I cannot, however, alter what seems to me to be the fact regarding this
>> story (for instance), any more than I can alter my eyesight or my hearing,"
>> he said.
>> "I do not deem it suitable for my Journal.
>> "You ask me to pass my pen over the paragraphs which displease me. Surely
>> that is scarcely reasonable.
>> "I do not think it is a good story. I think its leading incident is
>> common-place, and one that would require for its support some special
>> observation of character, or strength of dialogue, or happiness of
>> description.
>> [image: Charles Dickins Letter]
>> *A page from Dickens' ill-tempered letter*
>> "I do not find any of these sustaining qualities in it.
>> "I am not interested in the young people, therefore, and I cannot put away
>> from myself the unfortunate belief that the readers of All The Year Round
>> would not be interested in them."
>> In case he had not sounded sufficiently indignant, he added: "You have no
>> idea of the labor inseparable from the editing of such a Journal as All The
>> Year Round, when you suppose it within the bounds of possibility that those
>> who discharge such duties can give critical reasons for the rejection of
>> papers.
>> "To read professed contributions honestly, and communicate a perfectly
>> unprejudiced decision respecting every one of them to its author or
>> authoress, is a task, of the magnitude of which you evidently have no
>> conception."
>> Signed with Dickens' unmistakable scrawl, it was sent in February 1860
>> when Miss Marryat was in her 20s.
>> She appears to have been unperturbed by the sharp rebuke, going on to
>> write her first novel five years later.
>> By her death in 1899, she had written some 68 novels, with numerous other
>> magazine and journal articles to her name.