What Shall We Have for Dinner? Satisfactorily Answered by Numerous Bills of Fare for from Two to Eighteen Persons.

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Creator

Lady Maria Clutterbuck (pseud. Catherine Hogarth Dickens).

Title

What Shall We Have for Dinner? Satisfactorily Answered by Numerous Bills of Fare for from Two to Eighteen Persons.

Publisher

Fourth edition. London: Bradbury and Evans,

Date

1856.

Description

Binding by David Chivers of Bath.

Provenance: Mrs. William Vernon Harcourt, wife of the chancellor of the exchequer under Prime Minister William Gladstone.

The first edition of What Shall We Have for Dinner? appeared in 1851, although no copies are recorded. Lady Maria Clutterbuck’s husband, Charles Dickens, wrote the Introduction under the pseudonym of Lord Clutterbuck. Catherine Dickens’s pseudonym was taken from the name of the character she was to play in Used Up, one of her husband’s amateur theatrical productions.

The last edition of this work was published after their marital separation, a notorious scandal over the period 1857–59 consequent to Charles becoming enamored of the young actress, Ellen Ternan. The evidence, i.e., the multiple editions of Catherine’s work, belies Charles Dickens's claim, at the time of their separation, that his wife was an incompetent manager. Catherine Dickens’s menu books have survived.

William Vernon Harcourt (1827–1904), and his near contemporary, Charles Dickens, had both worked for the Morning Chronicle. In all, this is a rare book with an interesting association, by a famous woman and unrecognized author.

My personal collection of books associated with Charles Dickens is focused almost exclusively on his last and incomplete novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Like many collectors, I occasionally come across an item so fascinating to me, such as this book, that I make it part of my collection, even though it is somewhat out of scope.

Source

Robert P. Davis

Tags

Citation

Lady Maria Clutterbuck (pseud. Catherine Hogarth Dickens). , “What Shall We Have for Dinner? Satisfactorily Answered by Numerous Bills of Fare for from Two to Eighteen Persons.,” Grolier Club Exhibitions, accessed June 25, 2018, http://grolierclub.omeka.net/items/show/406.