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Dickens on Wordsworth: Nicholas Nickleby and the Copyright Question

Dickens on Wordsworth: Nicholas Nickleby and the Copyright Question 62 English Language Notes DICKENS ON WORDSWORTH: NICHOLAS NICKLEBY AND THE COPYRIGHT QUESTION “Dickens had little love for Wordsworth,” Forster noted, rather tersely, in his Life.' There is no obvious reason to doubt his statement: he was well acquainted with Dickens’s likes and dislikes, and, having himself a high regard for Wordsworth, there can be no question of his projecting his own views onto his friend. Moreover, in a period when Wordsworth was very widely dis­ cussed — culturally “ubiquitous,” even2 — Dickens appears to have written nothing, publically or privately, which would give the lie to Forster’s assertion. Nevertheless, certain “Wordsworth­ ian” characteristics of Dickens’s work have led scholars such as Philip Collins and John Lucas to conclude that Dickens’s opin­ ion of the older writer was actually a broadly positive one.3 Stephen Gill responds by stressing “The affinity is there, but that is all it is” — though he too implies that Dickens probably admired Wordsworth rather than otherwise.4 These critics have not attempted to explain Forster’s conflicting report. The only contradictory evidence which has been advanced is an anecdote from 1839. At a dinner Dickens gave on October 5, to celebrate the completion of Nicholas Nickleby, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png English Language Notes Duke University Press

Dickens on Wordsworth: Nicholas Nickleby and the Copyright Question

English Language Notes , Volume 41 (1) – Sep 1, 2003

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Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Regents of the University of Colorado
ISSN
0013-8282
eISSN
2573-3575
DOI
10.1215/00138282-41.1.62
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

62 English Language Notes DICKENS ON WORDSWORTH: NICHOLAS NICKLEBY AND THE COPYRIGHT QUESTION “Dickens had little love for Wordsworth,” Forster noted, rather tersely, in his Life.' There is no obvious reason to doubt his statement: he was well acquainted with Dickens’s likes and dislikes, and, having himself a high regard for Wordsworth, there can be no question of his projecting his own views onto his friend. Moreover, in a period when Wordsworth was very widely dis­ cussed — culturally “ubiquitous,” even2 — Dickens appears to have written nothing, publically or privately, which would give the lie to Forster’s assertion. Nevertheless, certain “Wordsworth­ ian” characteristics of Dickens’s work have led scholars such as Philip Collins and John Lucas to conclude that Dickens’s opin­ ion of the older writer was actually a broadly positive one.3 Stephen Gill responds by stressing “The affinity is there, but that is all it is” — though he too implies that Dickens probably admired Wordsworth rather than otherwise.4 These critics have not attempted to explain Forster’s conflicting report. The only contradictory evidence which has been advanced is an anecdote from 1839. At a dinner Dickens gave on October 5, to celebrate the completion of Nicholas Nickleby,

Journal

English Language NotesDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2003

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