Charles Dickens in America glittering frostwork I was a good deal disappointed in Mr. Dickens’ reading—I will go further and say, a great deal disappointed. The Herald and Tribune critics must have been carried away by their imaginations when they wrote their extravagant praises of it. Mr. Dickens’ reading is rather monotonous, as a general thing; his voice is husky; his pathos is only the beautiful pathos of his language—there is no heart, no feeling in it—it is glittering frostwork; his rich humor cannot fail to tickle an audience into ecstasies save when he reads to himself. And what a bright, intelligent audience he had! He ought to have made them laugh, or cry, or shout, at his own good will or pleasure—but he did not. They were very much tamer than they should have been… Mark Twain, Alta California, February 5, 1868 daguerreotype by Jeremiah Gurney, 1867 RMS Britannia January 4, 1842: Charles and Catherine Dickens depart for America January 22, 1842 : Britannia reaches Boston,
renamed "Boz-town" in honor of Dickens Charles Dickens, by Francis Alexander, 1842 Tremont House, Boston writer" "democratic rotten decayed forlorn fetid pulpy offal black ooze tottering abject hot and sickening putrid "Emperor of Cheerfulness" "democratic Genius" "democratic Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-44) Steinway House, New York, 1867 Cartoon, [Thomas Nast], The Daily Joker, 1868 President John Tyler In The White House. Drawn by A. B. Frost and engraved by by Edward G. Dalziel. Wood engraving. From Dickens's American Notes, Chapter 9; facing III, 304. Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. "The Thriving City of Eden as it Appeared in Fact"
(H. K. Browne), September 1843, Etching
Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit 'Why, I was a-thinking, sir,' returned Mark, 'that if I was a painter and was called upon to paint the American Eagle, how should I do it?'
'Paint it as like an Eagle, as you could, I suppose.'
'No,' said Mark. 'That wouldn't do for me, sir. I should want to draw it like a Bat, for its short-sightedness; like a Bantam, for its bragging; like a Magpie, for its honesty; like a Peacock, for its vanity; like a Ostrich, for its putting its head in the mud, and thinking nobody sees it--'
'And like a Phoenix, for its power of springing from the ashes of its faults and vices, and soaring up anew into the sky!' said Martin. 'Well, Mark.
Let us hope so.' from Martin Chuzzlewit Bibliography Dickens, Charles. American Notes for General Circulation. London: Chapman & Hall, 1842. Project Gutenberg.
Perdue, David. David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page (http://charlesdickenspage.com/index.html).
Slater, Michael, ed. Dickens on America & the Americans. Brighton: Harvester Press, 1979. Print.
Victorian Web (www.victorianweb.org) Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia Credit: The State Penitentiary, for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1855. Lithograph by P.S. Duval and Co. The Library Company of Philadelphia. feeble stumps and ashes hunger naked vapour dank (Ch. 23 Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit) ---. Martin Chuzzlewit. 1843-44. New York and London: Penguin, 2004. Print. Lepore, Jill. "Dickens in Eden." The New Yorker, Aug. 29. 2011. (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/29/110829fa_fact_lepore)See the full transcript