Dickens As Popular as Ever With Readers and Collectors Rosemary McKittrick provides a valuable connection to the world of art and antiques that LiveAuctionTalk.com subscribers rely on when they return to the site again and again.
News-Antique.com - Jun 14,2008 - Santa Fe, June 14, 2008 -- The man who encouraged Charles Dickens to be brave, true and consistent in his early writing career was close friend and fellow author William Harrison Ainsworth.
The name Ainsworth may seem unfamiliar now. But, in the early-19th century Ainsworth was a popular writer, especially of fiction for boys.
Dickens and Ainsworth met in 1834 when Dickens was working as a reporter for the “Morning Chronicle”. Ainsworth was seven years older and introduced Dickens to his circle of friends including journalists, publishers, authors and artists.
These were the people who would make Dickens a household name.
Through Ainsworth the struggling writer met his publishers John Macrone, publisher of his first book “Sketches by Boz” and Richard Bentley. Dickens also met his future biographer John Forster and also George Cruikshank, the artist who illustrated “Oliver Twist”.
Beginning in 1836 and continuing for four years Forster, Dickens, and Ainsworth had dinner together regularly. Ainsworth often hosted the men at Kensal Lodge.
It was this camaraderie that helped make each of their writings stronger. Even though his own writing was being overshadowed by the young Dickens, Ainsworth called it one of the happiest times in his life.
Understanding the bond the men shared, it’s no surprise that a first edition copy of “Oliver Twist” (the tale of a young orphan making his way among thieves in 19th-century London) in a presentation binding dedicated to Ainsworth from Dickens would set a world record price for Dickens at auction. The book brought $229,000.
The William E. Self Family Collection: The Kenyon Starling Library of Charles Dickens sold on April 2, at Christies in New York.
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