Friends of he Dickens Forum,

    Bob Patten, the recognized authority on Dickens and his publishers,
including detailed sales of the numbers, has read the Nina Matyris piece,
pointed out to us by Christine Maiocco.  Here he looks at the endings
of the first three numbers  and notes when Sam Well first makes
an appearance:                                                                       (pjm)

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It is indeed a lively article, and basically right about the popularity of Sam and Pickwick then, though I think the book is read more often now than Ms. Martyris imagines. (It's not taught as much as Great Expectations, Hard Times, and Bleak House, and those school sales are of course enormous.) She is right that the fourth Part went on sale very late in June, but Part IV was the July installment, and the sales picked up thereafter. Pickwick began with the April number published at the end of March. While Sam, introduced in the July Part, made a hit, he might not have accounted for all the sales immediately after the Part was issued and before people had read it. After all, the conclusion of Part III suggested that Jingle and Miss Wardle had secrets from the others that were "of sufficient importance in this eventful history to be narrated in another chapter." The previous Parts had ended dully. Part I closed by promising to begin the next installment with an ext
ract from the Transactions of the Club, entitled "The Stroller's Tale." And Part II concluded with Mr. Wardle welcoming the Pickwickians to Manor Farm. A great place in which to be a guest, as subsequent events demonstrate, but not an ending prompting readers to rush to the bookshop to discover its sequel. However, once the few buyers still following the serial got to Sam, they told all their friends, and the sales zoomed. More details about this success and Dickens's subsequent versions of the dramatic events can be found in my Charles Dickens and "Boz": The Birth of the Industrial-Age Author (Cambridge UP, 2012). It is a much richer account than that offered in Charles Dickens and His Publishers (Clarendon Press, 1978; forthcoming in an expanded edition). Bob Patten  <[log in to unmask]>

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On Apr 21, 2015, at 2:38 PM, Patrick McCarthy wrote:
Friends of the Dickens Forum:

    Christine Maiocco <[log in to unmask]> forwards the following
URL saying "The Forum may be interested in this."

    We have skimmed the piece in the *Paris Review* by Nina Martyris which 
brings together a range of familiar material in a lively manner.   On early sales of
*Pickwick*, best check Robert Patten's *Charles Dickens and His Publishers." (pjm)
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