DICKENS Charles (1812-1870)

Lot 46
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DICKENS Charles (1812-1870)

Signed autograph letter, signed « Charles Dickens », London 1 September 1842, to Thomas C. GRATTAN, Irish novelist and British Consul at Boston; 1 page in-4 format, integral address with postmarks [two British postmarks, one of which states,
“Ship Letter,” and the other is a cancellation stamp--”New York Ship, Sept. 18”] and red wax seal : “By the Great Western (the first regularly scheduled transatlantic steamship) Second September 1842”; in English ; green half-morocco folder.
Upon returning from his trip, Dickens writes to Thomas Grattan “cursing” income taxes in America and discusses copyright matters.
This letter is addressed to Thomas Colley GRATTAN (1792-1864), Irish novelist and writer, also British Consul at Boston and thus familiar with America. Dickens first trip to America was a disappointment for both guest and hosts. The adored English novelist fell from grace almost immediately upon his arrival in Boston when, at a dinner given in his honor, he pleaded for an International Anglo-American copyright law. For Sketches by Boz, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, and Oliver Twist, all American best sellers, Dickens had not received a penny. To the Americans, the writer had disgraced his hosts and himself by raising the subject of money. For Dickens, the constant harassment by the press, crowds and politicians, made his stay, and even a visit to the White House, unbearable. He happily returned to England in June, in time to find that Peel had instituted a tax on income over £150 a year. In the letter, Dickens evokes John Braham was the great English tenor who, in the twilight of his career, made a largely unsuccessful trip through America from 1840-1842. The publisher Thomas Longman had died just three days prior to Dickens’s letter, and the sardonic comment on “authors’ skulls” is a reference to the large number of writers, whom Longman published, including Scott, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Southey.
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