The Old Curiosity Shop was expanded from a short tale to save Dickens's failing periodical Master Humphrey's Clock (1840-1); it is the first of his novels of which the complete manuscript, many corrected proofs, and some working notes survive. This makes it uniquely interesting to both the textual critic and general reader. Forster's Life of Dickens played down the novelist's dependence on his friend's help, but the proofs reveal at first hand the
nature of Forster's assistance as well as Dickens's own practice. In conjunction with the manuscript, which contains two previously unprinted notes to his publisher, they show Dickens dealing with the unexpected
demands of weekly serialization of an unplanned, full-length novel. This is most obvious as he approaches the death of Little Nell, in whose fate both he and his readers became emotionally involved. This is the first edition to benefit from the recent revelation of material which Dickens had himself obscured or discarded on manuscript versos, and the first to scrutinize the importance and impact of the wood engravings dropped into the text.
`The present volume in the Clarendon edition gives the impression of being a work of love for it must have cost untold hours to reach this minutely annotated edition ... Elizabeth Brennan's extensive introduction to the edition does not only hold the key to the different manuscripts used, it presents a fascinating account of the genesis of the novel.'
Marysa Demoor, English Studies, December 1999
References and Abbreviations
Descriptive List of Editions
THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Appendices: A Additional apparatus; B Dickens's number plans and memoranda; C Weekly and monthly parts of Master Humphrey's Clock; D Distribution of MS among compositors; E Preface to Master Humphrey's Clock, vol. I; F Preface to the Cheap (1848), Library (1858), and Charles Dickens (1867) Editions; G 'Master Humphrey from his Clock Side in the Chimney Corner'; H Variant issues of The Old Curiosity Shop; I The descriptive headlines added in 1867; J Finding list of illustrations;
K Little Nell on stage
Series: Clarendon Dickens
Number Of Pages: 638
Published: 1st November 1997
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.79 x 15.22
Weight (kg): 1.06