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THE WOMEN OF AMERICA,
WHICH CONTAINS A RECORD OF THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
WITH TENDER AND TOUCHING PASSAGES FROM HIS WORKS, WHICH ARE
HARLES DICKENS was a popular writer.
“ The common people heard him gladly,” and read his books with an avidity which showed that he reached the heart with his graphic and sympathizing pen. His genius was evident to all classes of readers ; and editions of his attractive novels have been so multiplied and so varied, that they are found in the houses of the lofty and the lowly. The Queen of England gives his admirable creations place in her private library; and the humble cottager on her broad lands prizes also his copy
of “ Nicholas Nickleby” and “ Oliver Twist;” and both read his books with a zest which shows that the genius of the writer claimed the admiration of the reader, and his tender sympathy with lowly worth touched answering chords in many a human heart.
This world-wide interest in the works of Dickens has induced the publication, in many forms, of his books, and, now that he has passed from earth, will induce the publication of many sketches of his life, more or less exhaustive. On the shelves of booksellers, on both sides the Atlantic, will soon be seen biographies, sketches, and other memorial volumes, giving some picture, more or less distinct, of the earthly career of this prince among novelists.
This volume is one of the many. It is not pretended that it is exhaustive: it is not designed to be such. Across the broad waters, among his own immediate friends, perhaps in his own family circle, will be found a biographer wholly prepared to do full justice to the man
and the author. Meanwhile, his admirers this side the Atlantic, spexking the language whose literature he has helped to enrich, will render loving tribute to his genius, and a grateful acknowledgment of the pleasure experienced in perusing his masterly creations, by publishing various volumes in his memory, briefly sketching his life, and pointing out some of the most beautiful and excellent passages in his numerous books. This is what is attempted here.
Women have greatly enjoyed his writings. They have wept over little Nell, and Paul Dombey, and poor Joe; they have laughed over the inimitable wit which flashed along the pages of Pickwick and others of his works ; and so it is but right and proper that they should have their memorial volumes. The simple claim which this book urges is, that it belongs to that class, and is issued with the hope that women will enjoy it, and be benefited by its perusal ; being at least lifted into closer sympathy with one who saw the pathetic and the ridiculous very clearly, and used his power to depict both for the benefit of humanity at large, and the poorer classes in particular. Some writers see, to use Shakspeare's familiar words,
Tongues in the trees, books in the running brooks,
And Charles Dickens saw in rich and poor, in high and low, in Englishman and American, in men and women, in boys and girls, something which his unique pen could portray for the advantage of his readers. Such an individual, faulty as he is sometimes confessed to be both as a man and a writer, should be prized in a nation.
His death is a calamity to his readers, and a loss to the literature of his age; and with this sentiment prominent in the writer's heart is prepared this Memorial.
P. A. H.
NEW HAVEN, CONN,