Working Notes for Dickens’s Dombey and Son

Relative to Dickens’s “writing lab”: on the working notes for Dombey and Son.

(Banner Image: from the V & A Collection, linked here.)

By Rach and Boze

For those who, like Uncle Charlie in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, love “all the little details,” from the comparative corrosion of the iron-gall ink of Dickens’s quill relative to his stroke weight and density at any given time–not to mention, the thickness of his nib’s cut–and what all these say of his mindset and working methods, you might enjoy taking a look at the open source work by Tony Laing: Dickens’s Working Notes for “Dombey and Son”. The work is intended to be a more accessible, open source version, for Dombey, of Harry Stone’s work on Dickens’s novel notes.

It is free and fully accessible through this open book publishers link (creative commons license linked here). We are also attaching the pdf below. If you prefer to have it in hardcopy or a kindle-friendly version, you can also purchase it here.


      1. Oh my, Rachel, this is incredible stuff. Just reading Dickens’ handwriting is really difficult to do but dealing with all the technical stuff–ink, nib size, etc.–is going beyond. A fascinating look into the pre-composition prep work he’s doing while at the same time making guesses about what it all means. Another Pandora’s Box for Dickens’ scholars. Uncle Charlie, indeed! HIS details are of another sort, and not so splendid, either!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Haha, Lenny, YES!! I put in that Uncle Charlie reference especially for you! (One of my favorite lines πŸ˜‚) it really is a Pandora’s box, & not necessarily one I want to venture into too deeply now, but it certainly is fascinating!

        Liked by 1 person

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