Friends of the Dickens Forum.
The following post from Robert Newsom <[log in to unmask]>
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.
>> 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
>> [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]
>> By 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
>> Not if that friend is *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
>> berated her for having the temerity to bother him.
>> The autographed note, described as "wonderfully rude" was sent from
>> 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*
>> 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
>> 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
>> [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
>> "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
>> 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.