“A Dinner at Poplar Walk,” in The Monthly Magazine, or British Register of Politics, Literature, Art, Science, and the Belles Lettres.

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Creator

Charles Dickens.

Title

“A Dinner at Poplar Walk,” in The Monthly Magazine, or British Register of Politics, Literature, Art, Science, and the Belles Lettres.

Publisher

London: A. Robertson,

Date

1833.

Description

Provenance: The Alain de Suzannet-Kenyon Starling-William Self copy.

Many first attempts in the literary arts are remarkably modest, with little foreshadowing of fame. Charles Dickens’s first appearance in print was so tentative as to now be rarely written of, largely forgotten, and extant in just a few copies in private hands.

“A Dinner at Poplar Walk” is a humorous sketch of a party: a wealthy old bachelor is forced to spend an evening with disagreeable relatives and make a speech. Dickens, years after this story appeared in the Monthly Magazine, said that he left the manuscript “stealthily one evening at twilight, with fear and trembling, into a dark letter-box, in a dark office, up a dark court in Fleet Street.” Published in the December 1833 number of the Monthly Magazine, Dickens was nonetheless never paid for his story—in fact, he had to pay two shillings and sixpence to a bookseller in the Strand to get a copy of his own story in print.
Dickens’s story isn’t a great piece of writing: it’s inferior to both the work of his contemporaries and, of course, to the great fiction that he would soon produce. But despite its shortcomings, the sketch is inspirational. It reminds me that we all made a start at one time and that all artistic and scholarly success began with that first attempt.

Dickens’s story isn’t a great piece of writing: it’s inferior to both the work of his contemporaries and, of course, to the great fiction that he would soon produce. But despite its shortcomings, the sketch is inspirational. It reminds me that we all made a start at one time and that all artistic and scholarly success began with that first attempt.

Source

Bruce J. Crawford

Tags

Citation

Charles Dickens. , ““A Dinner at Poplar Walk,” in The Monthly Magazine, or British Register of Politics, Literature, Art, Science, and the Belles Lettres. ,” Grolier Club Exhibitions, accessed June 19, 2018, http://grolierclub.omeka.net/items/show/405.