Title: The works of Charles Dickens vol 31
The Posthumous Papers Of The Pickwick Club
Author: Charles Dickens
“HE dictated from week to week the papers which formed this little work”” the only book which he ever dictated “and cannot be said to have quite hit the mark with it,” says Mr. Forster. The date was the autumn of 1853. The Child’s History certainly does not rank with the Tales of a Grandfather. Dickens had not given many years to original historical studies, nor had he much sympathy with the past.
He had little of the historical sense. Writing as a middleclass early Victorian radical, he is merely astonished by the stupidity of our ancestors. They suffered much from, and endured much for, many kings, and what kings ! How odd was their conduct ! Thatrepresents Dickens’s attitude of mind. He calls the Highlanders “an extremely troublesome and wrong-headed race on the subject of the Stuarts,” and expects children to sympathise. Now every natural uncorrupted child is a Jacobite, and plans his own conspiracies, like Mr. Barriers Sentimental Tommy. King for king, there is no doubt as to which of the rival Houses offered the “nicer” and handsomer choice to the nation, and a child’s politics are influenced by these considerations, and by a generous love of the lost cause, of the long romance which Dickens dismisses in a page.