This final volume presents 1,151 letters, many previously unpublished or published only in part, for the years 1868 to Dickens's death from a stroke on 9 June 1870; also included is an Addenda of 235 letters belonging to earlier volumes, discovered since the publication of the first such collection in Volume 7, and a Cumulative Index of Correspondents for the entire edition.The volume begins with the final four months of Dickens's American tour
of 75 readings, which had been conspicuously successful throughout, despite the appalling weather and his sufferings from "American" catarrh. The tour culminated on 18 April 1868 when the American
Press held a dinner in his honour in New York. In July he rented Windsor Lodge, Peckham for Ellen Ternan, where she remained until after his death; he was to give two more English reading tours before his collapse at Preston on 22 April 1869. In early January 1869 he was elected President of the Birmingham and Midland Institute; and a dinner in his honour was given in St George's Hall, Liverpool. Between January and March 1870 he gave a series of Farewell readings in
London, and on 31 March Edwin Drood, No. 1 was published, illustrated by Luke Fildes; it continued monthly until 31 August.Of the friends who died during this period, much the closest
were the painter Daniel Maclise, to whom Dickens paid especial tribute at the Royal Academy Banquet of 30 April 1870; Mark Lemon, who died only 18 days before Dickens himself, and with whom he had a brief reconciliation after their bitter quarrel in 1858; and Chauncy Hare Townshend, who left him £2,000 to publish, as his Literary Executor, Religious Opinions of the Late Chauncy Hare Townshend, which appeared in November
`What distinguishes the Pilgrim edition is that it is enormous fun to read. Its bulging footnotes expose the whole cavalcade of Victorian life, the scandals and personalities, the circuses, theatres, fashions, politics and crimes, the social sweep from slum to palace. But most captivating of all is Dickens's personality, which fizzes and sparkles on every page'
John Carey, The Sunday Times
`Review from previous edition 'The dynamism the letters convey is breathtaking. . . . Like its predecessors, this new volume of the Pilgrim edition is a model of imaginative scholarship. . . . it brings Dickens so close you can almost smell the cigar smoke. The magnificent footnotes (an absorbing read, even without the letters) unroll the whole cavalcade of contemporary life . . .''
John Carey, Sunday Times
`teems with ... lovely squiggles of detail. At times we seem to breathe the very air of mid-Victorian London . . . It confirms what the Pilgrim editors should never tire of hearing, that this is one of the great undertakings of modern scholarship'
Anthony Quinn, Observer
`The editing of the volume is as scrupulous and informative as readers of the Pilgrim edition have by now come to expect. Many quiet triumphs of detection are recorded in the footnotes.'
Dan Jacobson, Sunday Telegraph
`this towering and meticulously edited series, which every learned library, every literary historian, must find indispensible.'
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Claire Tomalin, London Review of Books
Abbreviations and Symbols
THE LETTERS, 1868-1870
A: Addenda and Corrigenda Vols. I to XI (1820-1867)
B: The Public Readings
C: List of Readings sent to W. H. Wills, 25 February 1868
D: Walking Match, 29 February 1868
E: Draft Appeal for Cattermole Fund
F: Agreement between CD, Frederick Chapman and Henry Merivale Trollope
G: R. H. Horne to CD, 22 October 1869
H: Chapman & Hall to Fields, Osgood, 23 February 1870
I: Edward Bulwer Lytton re CD, 1869
J: CD's Will and Codicil
K: Alfred Dickens to Rusden
Cumulative Index of Correspondents for all 12 Volumes
Index of Names and Places
Series: Dickens: Letters Pilgrim Edition : Book 12
Number Of Pages: 842
Published: 1st April 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.5
Weight (kg): 0.44