DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Two autograph letters signed to the poet and journalist William Cullen Bryant, Carlton House, New York, 14 and 27 February 1842, together 3 pages, 8vo, the second with later annotation to upper margin. Provenance: by descent from the recipient.
Warm letters of admiration and friendship for a fellow author. Dickens's and Bryant's careers mirrored each other remarkably. Both men were writers (Bryant a poet, not a novelist), journalists, editors, public speakers, and social and political activists. Their friendship was confirmed during Dickens's first US tour in 1842 as demonstrated in these letters and books. Dickens writes: 'With one exception (and that's Irving) you are the man I most wanted to see in America'. Dickens excuses himself for not having been able to see Bryant when he called, adding though that 'As I lost what I most eagerly longed for, I ask you for your sympathy and not for your forgiveness'. He presses Bryant to come and breakfast with him -- 'I don't call to leave a card at your door before asking you, because I love you too well to be ceremonious with you. I have a thumbed book at home, so well now that it has nothing of you on the back, but one gilt "B", and the remotest possible traces of a "y". My credentials are in my earnest admiration of its beautiful contents'. The second letter accompanied the gift of a group of Dickens's works: 'If I had any control over the accompanying books, they should be unillustrated, and in outward appearance more worthy your acceptance'. Two of the books mentioned in the letter are offered here: The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club and The Old Curiosity Shop, both Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1842, original cloth (stained, worn), each inscribed to Bryant 'from his friend and admirer, Charles Dickens'. (4)