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Subject:
From:
Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 29 May 2008 10:21:04 -0700
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Friends of the Dickens Forum,

	Stephen Jarvis <[log in to unmask]> is interested in
the prevalence of "writing up" texts to support the work of visual
artists.  How much was the Dickens-Seymour collaboration the norm?
(pjm)
---
Hi, everyone,

I am trying to discover just how prevalent was the practice of
"writing up" - whereby a hack writer was hired to produce copy to
accompany the designs of an eminent artist - at around the time of
_Pickwick Papers_. The one clear-cut example known to me is the
Combe-Rowlandson collaboration, which produced the likes of Dr Syntax
in 1809,  many years before Pickwick. _Life in London_, by Pierce
Egan and the Cruikshank brothers is sometimes cited as another
example - but Egan would seem to have played a far more significant
role in the creation of this work than merely being the Cruikshanks'
dummy. After that, the examples seem to be rather sparse and
unspecific - with, say, the work of hacks on illustrated annuals
sometimes being mentioned. And yet, many standard accounts of the
origin of _Pickwick_ seem to imply that writing-up was the industry
norm, with rewards and prestige tending to go to the artist - a
norm which Dickens in his dealings with Seymour supposedly
singlehandedly overturned. Is this standard account correct, or a
myth?

I hope someone can help.

Best wishes,

Stephen Jarvis