Tag: Charles Dickens


5 Literary Relics People Spent WAY Too Much Money On

As we’ve covered before, some literary memorabilia sell for thousands and thousands of dollars. In one insane instance, a Hogwarts Acceptance letter from the first Harry Potter film sold for $40,000. The Harry Potter franchise isn’t the first to sell items from the films for insane amounts of cash. Everything from wallets to toilets to ashes of beloved stars have sold for immense amounts of money. Here are a list of some of the most obscure literary relics sold at auction. 



1. Charles Dickens’s Toothpick



Image Via The Telegraph 


Engraved with his initials and used on his last visit to America, Charles Dickens’s toothpick sold at action in 2009 for $9,150. The tiny object was put up for auction by heirs of the Barnes and Noble family.


2. Harper Lee Taj Mahal Letter



Image Via Nate D. Sanders


Harper Lee wrote a letter to her friend Doris Leapard in August of 1990 with content spanning all sorts of topics from social revolution to novels she was enjoying. At the end of the letter, Lee even apologized for the quality of her typewriter. Her lyrical style seen in To Kill A Mockingbird was used to trash Donald Trump and his Taj Mahal-inspired casino in New Jersey. The letter sold for $3,926 at an auction in New York in 2016. 


3. Sylvia Plath’s Wallet



Image Via Bonhams


A wallet put up for auction included Sylvia Plath’s ID cards including her Boston Public Library, her Poetry Society of America membership card, driver’s license, social security card, and a small photo of Plath with her mother. The wallet sold for $11,669 March 21, 2018. Along with the wallet, some of Plath’s other belongings were also sold including her fishing rod, articles of clothing, and her drawings. 


4. J.D. Salinger’s Toilet



Image Via Writers Write 


The beloved Catcher in the Rye author’s toilet was sold on Ebay with a letter from the present homeowner, confirming that the toilet was formerly owned by the reclusive author. The item came “uncleaned and in its original condition”, as stated in the ad. The toilet sold for $1,000,000, not including cleaning fees. 


5. X-Ray of Ernest Hemingway’s Foot



via Bonhams


The injuries shown in the x-rays Ernest Hemingway would later be detailed in his novel, A Farewell to ArmsThe x-ray remains in its original hospital file folder with labels identifying it as his. The lot included the x-ray of his foot, ankle, and knee where a bullet can clearly be seen. The auction ended on December 7, 2016 with the x-rays selling for $15,000


Featured Image Via William Pitt.

Westworld Dolores & Bernard

Take a Look at Charles Dickens Version of ‘Westworld’ from the 1830s

If you’re a fan of HBO, or popular culture in general, you probably know about the series Westworld (if not, you should pop on over to HBO immediately following this article and check it out, it’s way too good to miss. Trust me, I watched all of it in one sitting). What you may not know, however, is that, between the years 1837 and 1838, Charles Dickens published a series of short stories in the magazine Bentley’s Miscellany. The collection was titled Mudfog and Other Stories, and included one story, in particular, that bares an eerie resemblance to the popular HBO series.



Mudfog and Other Stories

Image Via AbeBooks


In their article shedding light on this strange similarity, The Smithsonian noted that in The Full Report of the First Meeting of the Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything, a group of scientists meet to discuss a variety of proposals. One proposal, brought up by a man named Mr. Coppernose, describes a theme park filled with automaton figures (robots who look and behave human), so the wealthy visitors can riot and rage throughout the town; inflicting damage on the figures free of consequence.


George Crukishank's drawing of Dickens world

Image Via Smithsonian


This premise feels too closely mirrored by Westworld, seeing as the entire series revolves around a theme park where the wealthy go to live out their wildest sins and inflict pain on a town filled with artificially intelligent robots.


The parks do, however, drastically vary in size. The Westworld park spans for about 500-square-miles, while Coppernose’s park only spans for ten miles.



Imege Via Westworld Watchers


Still, despite their variations in length, an immense amount of detail has gone into both parks, so they look and feel as real as the outside world. The Westworld park mimics the look and feel of a small-town community in the days of the wild west, while Coppernose’s park mimics rural-England and is said to include, “highway roads, turnpikes, bridges, miniature villages.” The park is also said to be inhabited by automaton police officers, cab drivers, elderly women, and more.


In Westworld, however, careful precautions are taken to ensure no humans are harmed during their stay. But in Coppernose’s park, pedestrians are brought in from the workhouse for the guests to hit and run over as they please. There is also a mock-trial that takes place in Coppernose’s park where guests are arrested by the automaton police force for their reckless, damaging behavior. A team of automaton magistrates are programmed to side with the humans. 


Westworld is based on the 1973 sci-fi film of the same name, but has never been traced back to literary inspiration of any kind. Still, the parallels between the series and the Dickens story are too similar to not take note.Even if just by coincidence; it’s interesting to see how multiple creators have imagined up a world filled with humanoid robots where guests can go to live out their wildest rage. Maybe the future of blending artificial intelligence with amusement parks has always been a little bit closer than we think.  





Featured Image Via Digital Spy

David Copperfield

BBC’s ‘David Copperfield’ Movie Makes Major Casting Announcement

Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield is getting a proper, elaborate adaptation from Veep mastermind Armando Iannucci, and it’s begun casting. The Hollywood Reporter reports Dev Patel has signed on to the project, following his award-winning role in last year’s Lion.


Dev Patel

Dev Patel posing with his BAFTA. | Image Via Bollywood Life


We don’t yet know who Patel will be playing, as we also know very little about the adaptation. Much can be gleaned, however, from the crew working on the film. The movie is written by Iannucci and Simon Blackwell, both of whom have an extensive background in comedy writing. Iannucci created the BBC Office-style satire The Thick of It (as well as directed the Oscar-nominated film spin-off In the Loop), with Blackwell serving as a key writer on the series. Chances are this Dickens adaptation will be the funniest we’ve seen since just about ever.


Iannucci has worked closely in the past with the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, who played the hilariously malicious Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and In the Loop. I hope to see Capaldi find a place in Iannucci’s David Copperfield, perhaps as the dastardly Edward Murdstone or the quirky Wilkins Micawber.


In any case, Dickens fans have good reason to be excited for this BBC-produced film. The talents are stewing and production is set to being this June. Copperfield will be here in no time!




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Charles Dickens

9 Times ‘Great Expectations’ Was Heartbreakingly Beautiful

In all corners of the world, near and far, there is nobody quite like Charles Dickens. His name is held in high esteem due to the mark he left on history and in our hearts. Page by page, you fall in love with each word as the story stitches your heart back together. Great Expectations is one of those works.


'Great Expectations'

Image Via Amazon


It’s a coming-of-age story that depicts society in a raw way. It’s also an eloquently-written romance that’s just 544 pages long. It evokes the kind of light on a bright spring day after a long cold winter. It brings the hope we need when love and opportunity are right at the tips of our fingers. Dickens reminds us that every day you have the chance to awaken what’s always felt missing. May we all fall deep into the magic of possibilities with these quotes from Great Expectations.


1. There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.


2. In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.


3. It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.


4. That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.


5. …You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with.


6. I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape.


7. I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.


8. We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too far to go back, and I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me.


9. Pip, dear old chap. life is made of ever many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man’s a blacksmith and one’s a whitesmith, one’s a goldsmith, and one’s a coppersmith.


Feature Image Via CNN
Oliver Twist

Dickens’ 7 Most Unfortunate Orphans

Although Charles Dickens died almost 150 years ago, he was also born 206 years ago on this day! We celebrate his special day by continuing to value and appreciate his masterpieces all of these years later. A Dickens novel is typically fraught with poverty, destitution, and misery, but they highlight a world and a London that very much existed during the 19th century. A very important characteristic of a Dickensian novel is his tendency to obsessively include orphaned children throughout. Again, these children help to showcase a dark and seedy land where children run amuck without a parental figure to help guide them along. These children grow up fast, but they learn invaluable lessons along their path to early adulthood. Here’s seven of the most invaluable Dickensian waifs.


1. Pip, Great Expectations



Image Via Movieinsider


In his 1861 novel, Great Expectations, Dickens introduces us to the protagonist and narrator, Pip. Pip is, of course, an orphan, raised by his cold sister and her kind-hearted, simple-minded husband. Pip becomes the playmate of Estella, a girl raised by the agoraphobic and depressive Miss Havisham who never recovered from being left at the alter by her fiance many years ago. Pip falls in love with Estella, but due to her upbringing and Miss Havisham’s negative influence concerning the male sex, she jilts the poor kid every chance she has. Pip eventually helps save a fugitive on the run, lives a life of glamour, and returns home to visit his beloved brother-in-law, but he never quite does recover from his love for Estella. 


2. David Copperfield, David Copperfield


david copperfield

Image Via whatculture


Published in 1850, David Copperfield tells the story of the titular character and narrator, David Copperfield. Born six months after the death of his father, he is raised by his young, widowed mother and their housekeeper, Peggotty. Between the two women, David is given a relatively beautiful childhood up until his seventh year. It is at this stage in his life when his mother decides to marry a tyrannical and wicked man named Edward Murdstone. The newlyweds give birth to another baby boy and, eventually, Murdstone has David sent to boarding school after a particularly nasty fight the two have together. It is at this boarding school that David learns of the deaths of both his mother and baby brother. Young David’s world becomes even more topsy-turvy after this point, and he spends the rest of the novel attempting to find a place for himself in the world. 


3. Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities 



Image Via CharlesDickensPage


Despite the fact that Sydney Carton is, in every sense of the word, an adult throughout Dickens’s 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, the fact remains that he is a character whose childhood was characterized by not having a family to call his own. A Tale of Two Cities is a piece of historical fiction that Dickens wrote recounting the French Revolution, and spans the course of decades; constantly skipping between events taking place in London and ones taking place in Paris. Carton is a drunkard and a lawyer, and while his brain is first-rate, his ability to prove his worth to people constantly falls short. Carton works alongside a man named Mr. Stryver who takes credit for his partner’s work, and thus Dickens terms the duo as The Jackal and The Lion, as in nature it is always the jackal who hunts the prey, while the lion finds the carcass and saves it for itself. In the end, Carton finds redemption through love and a surrogate family that he would, and inevitably does, do anything for. 


4. Martin Chuzzlewit, Martin Chuzzlewit



Image Via Wikimedia Commons


The title character, Martin, of the 1844 novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, is a boy raised by his wealthy grandfather and namesake. Years earlier Martin Chuzzlewit Sr. had also taken in a young girl to take care of him saying that she would be well-provided for as long as he remained healthy and well. The girl, Mary, does everything in her power to keep her benefactor in good health, but the younger Martin goes against his grandfather’s wishes and falls in love with her. Refusing to let his infatuation go, the elder Martin Chuzzlewit disinherits his young grandson, and he is soon left to his own devices. Upon leaving his grandfather’s supervision, Martin takes up an architecture job under a very greedy and malicious man named Pecksniff. Pecksniff is using young Martin in an effort to cozy up to his grandfather and be included in his will. The story continues in this fashion for some time: Martin Chuzzlewit Jr. befriends people, both good and bad, and the rest of the greedy Chuzzlewit family continue backstabbing each other at every turn for the sake of wealth. 


5. Nell Trent, The Old Curiosity Shop



Image Via FlavorWire


In The Old Curiosity Shop which was published in 1841, we meet the fourteen-year-old Nell Trent who lives with her unnamed grandfather in a shop where doodads and thingamabobs are the products he primarily sells. She’s a beautiful and sweet girl, but she is also quite lonely. Her grandfather is desperate that his sweet granddaughter does not die as her parents did: in poverty, but he becomes so desperate that he develops a nighttime gambling habit. He keeps his habit a secret, but inevitably must borrow money from the dastardly moneylender, Daniel Quilp. Eventually, Nell’s grandfather gambles away all of their money, and this causes him to have a terrible breakdown which leaves his mind in shambles. Nell whisks her grandfather away to another part of England where the two are to live as beggars. Funnily enough, many credit the character of Little Nell as being the first Harry Potter whose life and story mattered so much to American readers that they stormed the harbors, shouting, “Is Little Nell alive?” when British ships pulled in, bearing the latest edition of the story. 


6. Esther Summerson, Bleak House 



Image Via BBC


Charles Dickens published Bleak House in 1853, and it’s his only novel that uses a dual-narrative throughout the extensive piece of literature. Esther is one of the two key narrators in this novel, and it is surmised that Dickens may have been influenced by the idea of a female narrator after the publication of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, published in 1847. Esther was left as an orphaned baby to the care of a woman named Miss Barbary who she believes to be her godmother, but is really the sister of Esther’s unmarried mother. Esther’s aunt eventually dies, but she is entrusted to the care of a man named John Jarndyce who attempts to help the girl, and find her a suitable situation as a governess. Her life, like all children in Dickens novels, is not what one might call ideal, but throughout it all she remains affectionate, kind, loving, and open-minded to all new characters she encounters. Without a doubt, however, she is also very capable of standing up for herself and for what she believes is right and what is wrong.


7. Oliver Twist, Oliver Twist 


oliver twist

Image Via Nerdist


I bet you thought I would never get to this one. That I might not even end up touching upon 1839’s Oliver Twist, but how could I possibly omit he who is probably the single best-known Dickens orphan? They made a musical out of this one for goodness sake! Oliver is an orphaned child who finds himself wandering the crowded London streets after escaping his employment at a factory. He is attempting to scrape by in a world so utterly not suited for a young boy to no avail. Eventually, Oliver meets the Artful Dodger, another destitute young boy who has found a home with the criminal, Fagin. Fagin exploits his team of children and uses them as pickpockets and thieves, unbeknownst to young Oliver. In the end, Oliver discovers proper accommodations and love with a lost set of kin he happened upon by chance. While other characters (such as the criminal, Fagin) find their lives ending in pain and sorrow, the orphan Oliver is finally given his chance at a real home filled with real love. 





Feature Image Via History Things