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Unseen edits show that the earthiness of the ‘harlot with a heart’ in Oliver Twist was toned down for the Victorian reader
Nancy, Oliver Twist’s only true ally in the backstreets of Charles Dickens’ London, is the big-hearted “fallen woman” at the emotional core of one of the best-loved stories in the English language. Yet Dickens was unsure just how “coarse” to make her portrayal, it is revealed this month with the publication of the original manuscript of the 1837 novel to mark the 150th anniversary of the great writer’s death.
Unseen edits in Dickens’ manuscript, printed for the first time with all its surviving pages by SP Books, in a collaboration between the Charles Dickens Museum and the V&A, show how Dickens pulled back from painting Nancy too garishly. His campaigning instinct to depict the lives of poverty-stricken Londoners realistically seems to have battled with a desire to keep the more moralistic readers of his hit episodic novel on her side.
Although she is pimped and abused she has real joie de vivre. She is not just a victimContinue reading...
Tracy Beaker author says theme for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is reading for fun and asks young readers to pick books that make them happy
British children may be facing a summer in lockdown, but according to the writer Jacqueline Wilson it isn’t the moment to attempt the classics, but for comfort reading.
Wilson, the former children’s laureate, is calling on children to sign up online for the Summer Reading Challenge, which launches on Friday. Encouraging children aged four to 11 to read during the long break, this year the focus is on funny books, and getting children to read whatever makes them happy.Continue reading...
Books gather treasures from Europe’s strangest collections and show what we’re missing at the National Gallery, and artists respond to George Floyd’s death – all in your weekly dispatch
Cabinets of Curiosities
With museums closed, a richly illustrated book of artistic wonders is the next best thing. This new extra-large volume is full of photographs of some of Europe’s most surreal collections. The cabinet of curiosities was a Renaissance ancestor of the modern museum that mingled natural and human rarities. Dive into a world of carved amber, magic coral and stuffed mermaids.
• Taschen, out now
Pandemic fundraiser for Knights Of and Jacaranda has seen donations of more than £100,000 in the past week
More than £100,000 has poured in from the public over the last week to help diverse independent publishers in the UK survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, inclusive publishers Jacaranda Books and Knights Of warned their income had reduced to almost zero after the outbreak closed bookshops and distributors, putting their futures at risk. They launched a crowdfunding appeal administered by the independent writing charity Spread the Word, looking to raise £100,000 to ensure their survival. Eighty per cent of donations go to the two presses, with the remaining 20% to other independent publishers in the UK.Continue reading...
Books by authors including Reni Eddo-Lodge, Ibram X Kendi and Robin DiAngelo are selling out on both sides of the Atlantic
Books tackling racism and white supremacy by authors including Reni Eddo-Lodge, Ijeoma Oluo and Layla F Saad are selling out in Britain in the wake of eight days of protests in the US over the police killing of George Floyd.
Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race is the bestselling book on Amazon in the UK, where it is listed as temporarily out of stock. The award-winning title, which was first published in 2017, has also made this week’s paperback nonfiction charts from Nielsen BookScan. Saad’s Me and White Supremacy – subtitled How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World – is at No 5 in Amazon’s UK charts, and also out of stock, as is Akala’s Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, at No 7.Continue reading...
Autobiographical tale tells of hunt for ‘the biggest goddam marlin that ever swam in the ocean’ and has strong echoes of The Old Man and the Sea
An unknown short story by Ernest Hemingway, recounting a hunt for a huge marlin, which echoes the narrative of The Old Man and the Sea, has been published for the first time.
Pursuit As Happiness, published in this week’s issue of the New Yorker, follows the narrator on a fishing trip in search of “the biggest goddam marlin that ever swam in the ocean”. One day, “the water so clear and in so close that you could see the shoals in the mouth of the harbor ten fathoms deep”, he and his friends hook one – although the trip isn’t, eventually, as successful as they might like.Continue reading...
Colourised images of a tanned and waistcoated author on show when museum reopens
Looking healthily tanned, with a warm expression, and wearing a natty yellow, green and blue Clan Gordon tartan waistcoat, he is unmistakably Charles Dickens – but as we’ve never seen him before.
The Charles Dickens Museum in London has created and released the first of a new set of colourised photographs of the writer in the run-up to the 150th anniversary of the author’s death. It is a taster of a major exhibition on images of Dickens that the museum will stage as soon as it is able to reopen after lockdown restrictions are relaxed further.Continue reading...
Notes made in the shadow of a devastating outbreak show the great scientist sketching out some distinctly queasy remedies
It is not as bad as suggesting injections of disinfectant. Isaac Newton’s 17th-century prescription for plague – which blended powdered toad with toad vomit to form “lozenges” to drive away the contagion – has been revealed.
Two unpublished pages of Newton’s notes on Jan Baptist van Helmont’s 1667 book on plague, De Peste, are to be auctioned online by Bonham’s this week. Newton had been a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, when the university closed as a precaution against the bubonic plague, which killed 100,000 people in London in 1665 and 1666.Continue reading...
In a case at London’s high court, Richard Adams’ estate won a longstanding claim against Martin Rosen, director of the 1978 animation
The estate of Watership Down author Richard Adams has won back all of the rights to the late author’s classic novel about anthropomorphised rabbits, in a high court ruling against the director of the famed animated adaptation.
The high court in London ruled on 27 May that Martin Rosen, the US director of the 1978 adaptation of Adams’s novel, had wrongly claimed that he owned all rights to the book, in which a group of rabbits fight to survive the destruction of their warren.Continue reading...