DICKNS-L Archives

Charles Dickens Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Condense Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:13:49 -0700
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (76 lines)
Friends of the Dickens Forum,

     Stephen Jarvis <[log in to unmask]> picks up the thread 
about *Pickwick*
and its appeal to readers before and after Weller:
  As Val Lester says, the illustrations were certainly of huge 
importance in establishing Pickwick's
phenomenal success - Sam Weller wasn't just a list of Wellerisms, the 
pictures gave a sense of
a PERSON being there, almost in the flesh, someone actually using the 
remarkable expressions.
In spreading the news about the arrival of Weller on the scene, William 
Jerdan was of immense
importance too. In today's jargon, Jerdan would be a "super-connector", 
someone who knows
lots of very well-connected people: by telling his associates about 
Weller and Pickwick, Jerdan
created conditions in which there could be exponential growth in sales.

Another factor is that anyone picking up that fourth number, in which 
Weller made his first
appearance, would be greeted with a far more exciting opener than the 
previous numbers had.

The first number began with that tedious opening sentence - one of the 
worst I have ever
read - which even today puts people off Pickwick. The second number 
began with the mystifying
Stroller's Tale, which would lead readers to ask "What on earth is 
this?" or "What relevance does
it have?" The third has a bit better opening, with the domestic scenes 
at Dingley Dell, but it's all
a bit "genteel", and not something to set readers' pulses racing. But 
then suddenly the fourth
number - wham! This opens with an elopement and an exciting coach chase. 
And this is before
Weller appears!

All the best,

Stephen Jarvis
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2015 10:45:11 -0700 From: [log in to unmask]

Subject: Phiz's Son, *Pickwick's* Popularity and Sam Weller To: 
[log in to unmask]

  Friends of the Dickens Forum Here is word from Phiz's son reaching 
back to early *Pickwick* days.
it is Valerie Lester <[log in to unmask]> who is our source: (pjm) 

Dear Friends of the Dickens Forum,

Here’s another little story about the first appearance of Sam Weller.

Edgar Browne, Phiz’s son, writes in his book, Phiz and Dickens: “Some 
years ago, one pouring wet
day, I took refuge in a little curiosity shop near Leicester Square. The 
proprietor, partly to pass the
time, and partly to magnify himself a little, told me that he was a kind 
of literary character having
stitched the first numbers of Pickwick, which he considered a failure, 
till the fourth number; then
the sales went up with such a bound that he had to employ hands to carry 
out his contract. ‘It was
Sam Weller that did it,’ he said; then after a pause, ‘and the 

So, Phiz and Sam Weller burst on the scene together in Part IV — and 
together they caught the
public’s fancy.

Valerie Browne Lester