Never before seen letters from famous author Charles Dickens were recently discovered, giving us insight into the mind of the literary genius. Twenty-five unpublished letters were recovered from a collection of Dickens’ manuscripts, books from his library, and other personal items. These letters give insight to the life of Charles Dickens, as he was writing some of his most famous works such as A Christmas Carol.
In a letter to a friend, dated 9 November 1843, Dickens wrote, “I have half done the Christmas Book, and am resting for two days before going to Chuzzlewit – that is, if I can call anything rest, with that before me.” These letters shed an important light on Dickens’ creative process and what he did to gather inspiration to write. One thing Dickens often did was exercise, which was an important part of his creative process. In a letter written in 1846, while on vacation with his family in Switzerland, Dickens wrote, “It is a tough day, but it is a great thing to get rid of the heat… I may perhaps take a boat for exercise, this evening after dinner.”
image via bbc
Cindy Sughrue, director of the Charles Dickens Museum, is fascinated by Dickens’ ability to keep working no matter the circumstances. She says, “It’s this mixture of being on holiday… enjoying a completely different culture and still ‘writing his head off’ and meeting those publication deadlines throughout.” Other unpublished letters reveal Dickens’ strained relationship with his father, though he destroyed most of these letters. The only complete exchange of letters that has survived is between Dickens and a fan of his, a young Danish woman. In his letters, Dickens offers the woman advice writing, “The state of mind which you describe is not a wholesome one… the remedy for it, however, is easy… action, usefulness.”
The letters have been acquired by the Charles Dickens Museum from an American who has been putting the collection together for more than forty years. The museum raised £1.8m to buy these letters with the help of grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, Friends of the National Libraries, and the Dickens Fellowship. The letters will be on display at the Charles Dickens Museum in London later in the year and available to view online over the next two years.
Image via India Today
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