Composition Dickens began work on Martin Chuzzlewit in November 1842, having appeared in the previous month. He had recently returned from a holiday in Cornwall, and his first notion was to set the opening scene in a lighthouse or on some lonely spot on the Cornish coast; instead, he wrote an introductory chapter in the manner of Fielding with a heavily ironical account of the genealogy of the Chuzzlewits. Dickens’ routine, as with his previous serials, was to devote the first two weeks of the month to writing the current instalment, leaving the other two weeks free for correcting the proofs and other tasks. In March 1843 he wrote that he was ‘in great health and spirits, and powdering away at Chuzzlewit, with all manner of facetiousness rising up before me as I go on’. But his high spirits did not last, for sales were disappointing (see below). The hero’s sudden departure for America, announced at the end of the fifth number, was a response to this situation. Manuscript and corrected proofs (incomplete) in Forster Collection.
KeywordsDepression Dispatch Folk Ethos Fist
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