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Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:33:44 -0700
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
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Friends of the Dickens Forum,

     News: Lost Franklin expedition found: Lady Jane Franklin and 
Dickens... Russell Potter
on:    (pjm)

> I don't know how many of you may have heard this news, but the second 
> ship
> of the lost Franklin expedition was found in the Canadian Arctic on the 3rd
> of September (her sister ship had been found in 2014). It's gotten quite a
> bit of coverage in Canada, but not so much in the US and UK.
> At any rate, in connection with this, the story that Franklin's widow Lady
> Jane Franklin specifically asked Dickens to write a piece in Household
> Words condemning the 1854 report of Dr. John Rae (in which he report Inuit
> account of cannibalism among the last of Franklin's men) has been
> resurrected once more. The claim is made, variously, that Lady F. summoned
> Dickens to her home, or that she visited him; the date given is 19 November
> 1854.
> Lady Franklin certainly corresponded with Dickens about this time -- she'd
> sent him a copy of an earlier narrative by John Richardson -- and after the
> two-part "Lost Arctic Voyagers" appeared, CD wanted to send copies of it to
> her. But what of the claim that this piece was specifically written at her
> behest -- and that this request came at a personal meeting?
> My library's databases are acting up, so all I can do is see that there was
> a letter from CD to Lady Franklin on 30 November, but I can't get the
> letter's content -- in any case, I would be grateful to hear from others
> with any insight into the nature of this meeting -- if it took place -- or
> the supportability of the claim that it was Lady F who caused Dickens to
> write on this subject (the next day's letter to Wills suggests simply that
> since he was "strong on voyages and cannibalism" he, all on his own, wanted
> to write on the topic of Rae's report).
> With thanks in advance to anyone who might have a thought on thism
> Russell Potter
> Russell A. Potter, Ph.D. FRCGS
> Professor of English and Director of Media Studies
> Rhode Island College
> 600 Mt Pleasant Ave
> Providence, RI 02908