Skip

American Idol
February 14, 2012 11:42 AM   Subscribe

170 years ago, a gala ball was held in his honor on Valentine's Day. Flattered by New York City's elites, the author considered the occasion the finest moment of his life, particularly since he felt the United States was an ideal example of how Britain's class-bound society should live. But in the following weeks, when besieged by fawning groupies and actually meeting directly with the less than well-heeled folk of the New World, that his disposition turned sour.

Here begins the story of Charles Dickens' Quarrel with America, which would be find itself retold in condensed form as an episode of the television series Bonanza - couch potatoes may wish to pay particular attention to the actor playing Dickens, as his performance would ensure him a guest-starring role in another network series.
posted by Smart Dalek (16 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dickens was indirectly responsible for Helen Keller meeting Anne Sullivan.
posted by edgeways at 11:46 AM on February 14, 2012


edgeways: “Dickens was indirectly responsible for Helen Keller meeting Anne Sullivan.”

Lucky Anne. Poor Helen.
posted by koeselitz at 11:53 AM on February 14, 2012


I forgot to add an additional link: here's further details of New York's "Boz" Ball, with firsthand accounts of the soiree.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:54 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I can't drink a glass of water, without having 100 people looking down my throat when I open my mouth to swallow."

Was he being paid by the word in his private correspondences as well?
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on February 14, 2012


He began to find them overbearing, boastful, vulgar, uncivil, insensitive and above all acquisitive.

And damned proud of it!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:08 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow, Dickens was advocating IP laws 170 years before it was cool. Such a hipster.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:13 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


He began to find them overbearing, boastful, vulgar, uncivil, insensitive and above all acquisitive.
And damned proud of it!

posted by oneswellfoop at 12:14 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lucky Anne. Poor Helen.

koeselitz, can you explain what you mean by this? Was there controversy regarding Anne's treatment of Helen?
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 12:31 PM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wow, Dickens was advocating IP laws 170 years before it was cool. Such a hipster.

Trollope had agreed to publish the travelogue North America in North America through Lippencott but was gazumped by Harpers, who had published his earlier works and flooded the market with a cheap edition. Harpers felt Lippencott had shown them professional discourtesy. Trollope felt he was being ill used and cheated, and it's hard to argue seriously that he was not.

The event was Trollope's incentive for pushing for international copyright.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:54 PM on February 14, 2012


Only tangentially related, but I've just recently read Dan Simmons' meticulously researched Drood and he goes on at length about Dickens' trips to the US. Really an excellent read, no matter what you might think of Mr Simmons.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:19 PM on February 14, 2012


The story reminds me of how Alan Moore was turned off of public appearances. It's too bad Dickens didn't become a crazy recluse wizard.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:30 PM on February 14, 2012


Freud hated his trip America too, he thought Brooklyn was just unspeakably vulgar.
posted by The Whelk at 1:42 PM on February 14, 2012


koeselitz' trolling aside, I find this remarkable because Dickens dedicated so much of his energy, money, and art to fighting for the impoverished, and even the criminals in prison. To hear of him disgusted by the lower classes, especially those eager to praise him - I can understand discomfort at celebrity glass-house problems, but to loathe his admirers is really surprising.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:14 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Freud hated his trip America too, he thought Brooklyn was just unspeakably vulgar.

Probably a Yankees fan.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:15 PM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dickens and Longfellow became dear friends during this trip.
posted by brujita at 2:55 PM on February 14, 2012


Completely co-incidentally we have just watched the Dr Who episode with Charles Dickens (SO's choice) as our post VD blow out.
posted by biffa at 3:45 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older "In every family picture ... my mother was wearing...   |   HOW TO DANCE AT A RAVE Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post