Friends of the Dickens Forum,
Grahame Smith <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]>
Joins Robert Newsom, et al., in not finding Dickens's response
out of order. (pjm)
Dickens’s response seems to me entirely reasonable. How on earth could he be expected to edit and also offer constructive advice for an evidently unsuitable piece of writing? What a cheek, I’d say, on the part of the contributor.
Grahame Smith Stirling (Emeritus)
On 30 Mar 2016, at 18:38, Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]> <[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. (pjm)
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
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/12184001/Unseen-Charles-Dickens-letter-reveals-rude-retort-to-fan.html <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/12184001/Unseen-Charles-Dickens-letter-reveals-rude-retort-to-fan.html> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/12184001/Unseen-Charles-Dickens-letter-reveals-rude-retort-to-fan.html>
A tale of two Dickens? The letter reveals the famous writer may have had had a short temper
By Hannah Furness <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/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 career.
Not if that friend is Charles Dickens. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/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 Dickens <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/10580182/Charles-Dickens-in-pictures.html> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/10580182/Charles-Dickens-in-pictures.html> berated her for having the temerity to bother him.
The autographed note, described as "wonderfully rude" was sent from Dickens <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9018185/Dickenss-London-in-pictures.html> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9018185/Dickenss-London-in-pictures.html> 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".
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 <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9512328/Charles-Dickens-letter-surfaces-after-150-years.html> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/charles-dickens/9512328/Charles-Dickens-letter-surfaces-after-150-years.html> 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 grudges."
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 description.
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 papers.
"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 conception."
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.