Home » Charles Dickens as Editor - Being Letters Written by Him to William Henry Wills, His Sub-Editor by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens as Editor - Being Letters Written Him to William Henry Wills, His Sub-Editor by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens as Editor - Being Letters Written

Him to William Henry Wills, His Sub-Editor by Charles Dickens

Published September 1st 2007
ISBN : 9781406781045
Paperback
432 pages
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 About the Book 

PREFACE. THIS letters printed in this volume were written by Charles Dickens to my great-uncle, William Henry Wills, who first became closely connected with him at the time of the foundation of the Daily News in 1846, and was afterwards for nearlyMorePREFACE. THIS letters printed in this volume were written by Charles Dickens to my great-uncle, William Henry Wills, who first became closely connected with him at the time of the foundation of the Daily News in 1846, and was afterwards for nearly twenty years his sub- editor on Household Words and All the Year Round. With the exception of a certain number relatively small which have already appeared in whole or in part in the three volumes of the Letters of Charles Dickens publishedby Miss Hogarth and Miss Dickens in 1880 and 1882 these letters are new. They were carefully preserved by Wills, and at his death passed to his widow. She left them to her niece, Lady Priestley, from whose eldest son, my cousin Mr. E. C. Priestley, they have now come to me. I desire to express my warm thanks to Miss Hogarth and Mr. H. F. Dickens, K.C., for their permission to publish this selection from the 450 letters in my possession. It may be said of these letters that their effect is to concentrate the light upon one side of Dickenssmani- fold and unceasing activities. They show him as an editor, ardent, but patient sometimes impulsive, but always immovably steadfast in the execution of his purpose firm in his grasp of principles, but resolutely careful in every detail which might serve to carry those principles into execution himself an indefatigable worker, and not content with anything short of hard and honest work on the part of his fellow I ought, perhaps, to add that two were printed by me in Memories of Half a Century. labourers generously warm in his gratitude for good service loyally rendered, but merciless to sham, sloven- liness or incapacity always devoted to good causes and perfectlyfearless in his efforts to promote them. He had a consuming desire to do whatever he under- took as thoroughly as it was capable of being done, and his performance rarely fell short of his desire. This is no small thing to say when all that he did in addition to his editorial work is remembered. Indeed, one cannot conceive him as ever taking any real rest. He speaks of himself in one of his letters as Coming off his back and the grass in order to consider some business matter, but even in that position he was, I am sure, devising new plans and novel methods for giving effect to them. In a letter of June 6th, 1867, he says, I shall never rest much while my faculties last, and if I know myself have a certain something in me that would still be active in rusting and corroding me if I flattered myself that it was in repose. In regard to his relations with Wills these letters form a very remarkable record, for they show how a mere official connection, involving at first a little friction, gradually developed into a perfect confidence and a warm and enduring friendship. Wills did not hesitate, when the occasion, as he thought, arose, to tender advice which ran counter to Dickenss own inclinations not a light matter with a man who held and expressed his inclinations so strongly as Dickens. He did this notably when Dickens was debating with himself the question of going to America see letter of June 6th, 1867, and the note to the letter of September 24th of the same year, and neither on that occasion nor on any other was their friendship clouded for a moment. I may be pardoned, perhaps, for devoting a few pages Dickens to the career of this friend of William Henry Wills was born in Plymouth onJanuary 13th, 1810. His father had been at one time wealthy, his business being that of a ship-owner and prize agent...