This eleventh volume presents 1158 letters, many previously unpublished or published only in part, for the years 1865 to 1867. Dickens's main work in the period is the completion of the monthly parts of Our Mutual Friend (final part 31 October 1865, for November); unusually, it comes out in two volumes (January and November 1865) during the period of its run. The three All the Year Round Christmas numbers, `Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions', `Mugby
Junction', and `No Thoroughfare' (written jointly with Wilkie Collins) are again highly successful. He remains in high demand as chairman of a varied collection of public charitable dinners: they include charities to
which he was constantly faithful, such as the Newsvendors' Benevolent Institution and the Royal General Theatrical Fund; but he also presides, for the only time, at the Annual Dinner of the Dramatic, Equestrian, and Musical Sick Fund Association (14 February 1866) and - at the instigation of Charley Dickens, a keen oarsman and Committee member - at the Dinner of the Metropolitan Rowing Club (7 May 1866), making a particularly brilliant speech. The first reference to his swollen left foot,
attributed by him to frost-bite, comes in February 1865; but the most dramatic event in this volume is the railway accident at Staplehurst, Kent, on 9 June 1865, in which he is involved on returning from a
short visit to France, accompanied by Ellen Ternan and her mother. The frontispiece shows him helping the injured and dying. He gives two provincial reading tours managed by George Dolby of Chappell & Co., in 1866 and 1867, besides frequent readings in London. After a Farewell Dinner to him in London, with Lord Lytton in the Chair, he sails on 9 November 1867 from Liverpool to Boston, to begin his American tour of 75 readings.
`another painstakingly researched volume for Dickens readers and scholars alike. ... A new volume of Pilgrim Letters is invaluable simply by making all the known letters available to the reader, and by restoring many hitherto cut or censored letters to completeness. ... the editorial team present 467 hitherto unpublished letters in this volume, some of them of considerable interest. ... very few stones have been left unturned in the search for information,
and the critical apparatus is impressive.'
Tore Rem, March 2001,
`This is presumably the penultimate volume of this towering and meticulously edited series, which every learned library, every literary historian, must find indispensible.'
Alethea Hayter, TLS.
`I have noted when reviewing earlier volumes of these brilliantly edited letters that in many regards they are better than Dickens's novels: this one is no exception ... The footnotes are an enjoyable read almost by themselves, bringing this part of the 19th century to life. Addicts of the series will regret to note that there is likely to be only one more volume after this, but the editors ensure that every moment can be savoured.'
Simon Heffer, Country Life 20/1/00
Abbreviations and Symbols
The Letters 1865-1867
A. The Public Readings
B. Draft Agreement between the Editors of All the Year Round and the author of "Aunt Margaret's Trouble" [Mrs Frances Trollope], [late 1866]
C. Charles Dickens to John Forster [24 September 1867]
dated London, 20 August 1867: D. "Dickens in America", from Our Special Correspondent, New York Daily Tribune, 6 September 1867