Sketches by Boz is saturated with topical detail, as Dickens casts his journalist’s eye on the sights, sounds, smells, people, and events of contemporary London. His attention to ‘every-day life and every-day people’ aligns him with Reform, which was challenging elitism with democratic principle. His revisions removing indelicacy in later editions reflect changing attitudes as Victorian propriety replaced Regency raffishness, and his most extensive alterations to the sketches, for the 1850 edition, impacted on the journalism he was then writing for his new periodical Household Words.
About the speaker
Paul Schlicke, honorary Senior Lecturer at University of Aberdeen, past President of the Dickens Society of America and of the international Dickens Fellowship, Trustee of the Charles Dickens Museum, London (Chairman, 2005–09), has published widely on Dickens. He is the author of Dickens and Popular Entertainment (1985), compiler of the Dickens entry in the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (3rd edn, 1999) and editor of the Oxford Companion to Charles Dickens (1999; reissued 2011). He has most recently edited the Clarendon edition of Sketches by Boz, which is due to be published in 2012.