“I have been incessantly travelling, and reading Christmas Carols to thousands of people. I feel this morning like an enormous top in full spin”
English novelist (1812–1870) and the author of such classics as Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and David Copperfield. ALS, one page, 4.75 x 7.5, 49 Champs Elysees, Christmas Day, 1855. Letter to Stuart Lytton. In full: “I have registered a vow (like O’Connell) to read Lady O’Cliff the Second Number of Little Dorrit, on Monday next the last night of the old year. If you are not engaged and would like to hear it pray come—at half past 8. I have asked Mr. French on similar terms. For the last ten days I have been incessantly travelling, and reading Christmas Carols to thousands of people. I feel this morning like an enormous top in full spin.” Letter is affixed to a slightly larger board. In fine condition, with a uniform shade of mild toning. Accompanied by an original unsigned carte-de-visite portrait of Dickens.
Already revered as the literary colossus of his age, comfortably situated at the pinnacle of celebrity, Dickens admirably used his position for philanthropic causes. When approached by his friend Charles West to raise funds for the Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1853, he began giving wildly popular and lucrative reading tours. Though he did offer major sponsors readings of his current work—in this case, his 11th serial novel Little Dorrit—he earned most with a shortened telling of 1843’s Christmas Carol. Written while Britain was experiencing a nostalgic interest in its forgotten Christmas traditions, reviving a jovial holiday spirit, the tale became an instant classic and never waned in its popularity. This charming letter, written on Christmas day in the midst of a whirlwind European reading tour, highlights one of the most important works and most important activities of the literary legend’s career: a truly remarkable piece! Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
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