2 pages, 12mo, on Office of All the Year Round stationery." />
4 December 2009
DICKENS, Charles. Autograph letter signed ("Ch."), with heart-shaped paraph to "Georgy" [Georgina Hogarth], 9 January 1861. 2 pages, 12mo, on Office of All the Year Round stationery.
DICKENS--IN THE MIDST OF WRITING GREAT EXPECTATIONS--GOES TO CHANCERY TO STOP AN UNAUTHORIZED PRODUCTION OF HIS WORK
"'We' are in the full swing of stopping managers from playing A Message from the Sea," Dickens writes his sister-in-law. "I privately doubt the strength of our position in the Court of Chancery, if we try it; but it is worth trying. I am aware that Mr Lane of the Britannia sent an emissary to Gad's Hill yesterday. It unfortunately happens that the first man 'we' have to assert the principle against, is a very good man whom I really respect. Will you take charge of the enclosed cheque and end it? I have no news, except that I really hope and believe I am gradually getting well. If I have no check [i.e., bad turn in his health], I hope to be soon discharged by the Medico. He was better yesterday (tell Marguerite with my love), but still ill. I go to him tomorrow. I am going to see Laura today at the Mansion House!" In a postscript he writes: "Best love to dear Marnie and to all."
The "we" are his collaborators on All the Year Round, Wilkie Collins, Robert Buchanan, Charles Allston Collins, Amelia Edwards, and Harriet Parr. The short story, A Message from the Sea, appeared in an extra Christmas number of the magazine, 13 December 1860 (see lot 74 for the number containing this story). Here Dickens turns to the law with reluctance--not surprisingly considering the devastating satire he carried out against the legal system and the Chancery Courts in Bleak House. Yet given Dickens's immense popularity, pirated editions and unauthorized productions of his work were a constant threat that had to be met.
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