DICKENS, Charles, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Novelist.
Autograph note ('C.D.') trimmed from an undated and apparently unpublished letter to Edward Bulwer Lytton, mounted with two related pieces. Correspondence between Dickens, Bulwer Lytton and (William) Charles Mark Kent, writer and journalist, concerning Kent's forthcoming collection of poetry.

The note from Edward Bulwer Lytton to Kent of 21 November 1861 reads:
'My dear K, I wrote to ask Dickens to subscribe to your poems and enclose his answer.'
The envelope addressed by Lytton to Kent, which probably contained his note, and is now inlaid below Dickens's postscript, bears the postal cancellation of Ventnor [Isle of Wight], dated 21 November 1861.

Dickens's postscript, complete in itself, reads:
'Kent is an excellent fellow. And if you will give him my name as a subscriber for 2 copies, it will make the name worth 4 ?.'
Kent (1823-1902) was a writer and journalist who became editor of a liberal evening newspaper The Sun in 1845 when only 22 years old. It was one of the first journals to publish book reviews and he was a prolific contributor to these. It was through his review of Dombey and Son that he first met Charles Dickens who had written asking the editor to express his 'warmest acknowledgements and thanks' to the reviewer, marking the beginning of a lifelong friendship. He made regular contributions to Dickens's Household Words and All the Year Round. Kent mixed in a wide literary circle; as well as Dickens, he was friends with Leigh Hunt, the first and second Lord Lytton, Robert Browning, Wilkie Collins and Matthew Arnold among others. The poems referred to in this correspondence were a collection that Kent had contributed to the New Monthly Magazine which were published as Dreamland, or, Poets in their Haunts (1862) and dedicated to Bulwer Lytton.

A letter from Dickens to Bulwer Lytton of 20 November 1861 is published in The Letters of Charles Dickens, Oxford 1997, vol. 9, p. 509, evidently not the letter from which this postscript is derived. Dickens wrote to Kent directly on 19 December 1861, warmly offering his support for his book ('If I can serve your book in any way, of course I will do it and joyfully.') (ibid, p. 545).
[No: 26456]

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