Charles Dickens

Madeline House and Graham Storey (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 1: 1820–1839

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To WILLIAM JERDAN, [MID-NOVEMBER 1837]

Extract in Jerdan, Autobiography, iv, 364. Date: shortly before 15 Nov, when CD told Macready that Jerdan would be present at the dinner.

Inviting him to a semi-business Pickwickian sort of dinner.2 … I depend upon you above everybody. Faithfully yours, always,

Charles Dickens  

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Editor’s Note
2 Describing the Pickwick dinner, Jerdan wrote that "there the pleasant and uncommon fact was stated … that there never had been a line of written agreement" for Pickwick, but that author, printer, artist, and publisher had all proceeded on simply verbal assurances; and that "there never had arisen a word to interrupt or prevent the complete satisfaction of every one" (Autobiography, iv, 365). It is true that there was no formal Agreement when Pickwick began (see F, ii, ii, 105). But Forster had for some time been strongly pressing CD to acquire a share in the copyright (ibid, p. 106); and negotiations for a "Deed of License, Assignment and Covenants" had been in hand since the summer. This Deed was finally approved by Smithson & Mitton's counsel, on behalf of both parties, on 18 Nov—the day of the dinner—for signing on the 24th (MS Mr H. C. Dickens). It gave CD a third of the copyright after five years. As part consideration he agreed to write Nicholas Nickleby, for which he was to receive £150, instead of £100, for each of the 20 numbers, and to have the whole copyright after five years. For text, see p. 658.
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