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Subject:
From:
Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Wed, 17 Jun 2015 19:46:43 -0700
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Friends of the Dickens Forum,

     Robert Tracy <[log in to unmask]> wishes us to remember the tone 
and subjects of Robert Surtees as providing Seymour and Dickens a 
subject for their work.  Much has been done by the editors of the 
Pilgrim letters and , notably, by Kathleen Chittick (in *Dickens and the 
1830s*) to trace ideas and themes which mutatis mutandis were used by 
Dickens in his early days.  Think of some of the writers: Pierce Egan, 
John Poole, Oliver Goldsmith--the latter credited for suggesting certain
developments in the development of Pickwick--, who were much in the air 
when Dickens began to write.   But here is Tracy on Surtees:  (pm)
-------
>
>
> Dear Colleagues: Dickens and Seymour must have been living like hermits, if
> either if them thought Seymour's idea for an illustrated series of episodes
> depicting the inexpert sporting adventures of a retired London business man
> was in any way new and original. R.W. Surtees had been publishing JORROCK'S
> JAUNTS AND JOLLITIES, illustrated by John Leech, in the SPORTING MAGAZINE
> since 1831. Not much fishing in  JORROCK'S adventures, but lots of riding
> to hounds. Surtees theme was "cits,"London grocers and business men,
> invading the hunting field and so joining the "swells" who considered
> hunting a gentleman's sport. Jorrock is shrewd, sometimes aggressive, but
> he often gets the better of the swell. The swells read Surtees because they
> enjoyed the occasional awkwardness of their inferiors and the excitement of
> Surtees's hunts; the "cits" read him because they like to see the cit win
> out. If anybody borrowed/stole any ideas, it was Seymour, not Dickens. But
> clearly Seymour was laboring under some private grief.
> Robert Tracy
>
> On Sun, Jun 14, 2015 at 8:11 PM, Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]
>> wrote:
>> Friends of the Dickens Forum,
>>
>>      The major focus of the present discussion is what is called "Dickens
>> Bashing"  and also the extent accusations against him, for example on  the originality of his Mr.
>> Pickwick, his treatment of Catherine after the failure of his marriage, and the Ellen Turner
>> affair affect our larger sense of the man Dickens.  We seem now to be focusing on the Seymour-Pickwick matter.
>>
>>      Rob Lapides is not alone in thinking that whatever the precise extent
>> of his debt to Robert Seymour (Walter Smith concurs) the issue "in no way lessons
>> Dickens's amazing achievement in  *Pickwick Papers*" and does not "harm his reputation as a
>> writer."
>>
>>      John Danza<[log in to unmask]>  has researched the question of
>> what went on in those months of 1836 when *Pickwick Papers* was a-borning. He says
>> credit for thinking of the club and "hatch[ing] the project" belongs to Seymour, right
>> enough;  Dickens ran with the idea. When Dickens claimed about a decade later in the preface to the Cheap
>> Edition,, "I thought of Mr. Pickwick, and wrote the first number," he wrote a "famously
>> tantalising sentence."  For surely Mr. Pickwick's birth was a complicated affair.
>>
>>      Yes, tantalising it is, Michael Slater, as you said in in your
>> wonderfully detailed and accurate biography of Dickens. To read your entries on "Seymour, Robert" is to get as full an account as
>> we have.   We add only (thanks to a reminder from Tony Pointon)  that in his last statement Seymour wrote that
>> no one was to be blamed for his suicide but himself.
>>
>>      As a group, we do not want to get into a tit-for-tat dispute about the facts of the matter.   Interpretations
>> are subtle  and it is easy to get caught up in varying interpretations.Dickens surely took over the enterprise,
>> but what was his effect on Seymour?   His letter to the artist in these crucial months asking him to alter
>> one of the illustrations can be read as innocuous or as a bumptious demand from a fledging writer to an
>> established illustrator.   Tone, how the letter was intended to be read and how it was read, is crucial.
>>
>>      John Danza thinks the controversy could have been muted: "Dickens would not have been harmed in
>> the least to give Seymour the credit for the idea [of Mr. Pickwick] since
>> Dickens wrote all the words and Seymour was involved in the project for all of a couple of months."
>>
>>      As so, it would seem, the matter rests.
>>
>>   P. McCarthy
>> Editor
>>