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Charles Dickens's reading copy of The Haunted Man

Collection

Library

Object number (per part)

[lib]1253, 1971.1.97

Object name (per part)

book

Title

The Haunted Man: a reading

Production person

Dickens, Charles

Production organisation

Bradbury & Evans

Production date

1848

Label


Dickens probably began preparing this reading copy of The Haunted Man in 1858 for his first paid reading tour, but he soon realised it wasn’t a suitable text for public readings and abandoned it. The book is made from pages of the original 1848 edition, which have been cut out and stuck into a larger book before being heavily highlighted and annotated by Dickens.

Other number

CDML.2033 (past perfect number)

Acqusition history

The book was originally part of Dickens's library at Gad's Hill.
It was offered for sale in Sotheby's catalogue for January 1870 at £3 10s.
It was purchased by the Comte de Suzannet from Walter T. Spencer in May 1934.
It forms part of the Suzannet Collection.
It was donated to the Museum by the Comtesse de Suzannet in 1971.

Physical description

16mo each leaf inlaid to 8vo size 188 pages red half-morocco gilt, in a cloth slip -case, olive-green morocco gilt back. The book has been rebound. Containing the bookplate of Charles Dickens and the Comte de Suzannet.

Object history note

A Reading Copy is a book which has been highlighted and or annotated by the reader. In Charles Dickens’s case, he edited, annotated and physically altered copies of his own works to assist him in performing his public readings. He would include stage directions for himself, and often used different coloured inks to indicate deletions or other kinds of information. Some volumes also have pages purposefully stuck together, where they were to be omitted from the performance. Dickens would eventually get select passages of his works reprinted with large margins to better allow for his notes and annotations, which he would later sell or gift to friends.

This reading copy of The Haunted Man belonged to Charles Dickens and contains the novelist's bookplate. The book comprises pages from the original 1848 publication of that have been stuck into a book with wider margins, and heavily annotated, crossed out and coloured in. Dickens eventually gave up on the idea of creating a public reading performance from it and the annotations stop before the end of the story. With the book is a sheet of Gad's Hill headed notepaper on which is written in Dickens's hand: "Faithfully yours Charles Dickens at Liverpool Saturday Twenty Eighth April 1866."
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