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The Victorian Funeral

At the death of Anthony Chuzzlewit Mr. Mould, the undertaker, provides the customary 19th century funeral which Dickens mocks in many of his novels. Paid mourners and mutes (most likely drunks) follow the hearse feigning grief for the departed. Those in attendance were provided black ribbons, gloves, and scarves. Black feathers adorned the horses and hearse.

At Anthony's funeral the only person to feel honest emotion for the departed, Mr Chuffey, is rebuked by the other 'mourners'.
Dickens' will directed that 'those attending my funeral wear no scarf, cloak, black bow, long hat-band, or other such revolting absurdity'.

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Dickens' life during the serialization of Martin Chuzzlewit
Jan 1843 - Jul 1844

Dickens' age: 30-32

January 1843

December 1843

A Christmas Carol published

January 1844

Son Francis Jeffrey (Frank) Dickens born

June 1844

A falling out with publishers Chapman and Hall, brewing since A Christmas Carol wasn't as profitable as he hoped, Dickens moves to new publishers Bradbury and Evans.

July 1844

After finishing Martin Chuzzlewit Dickens and family travel to Genoa, Italy for nearly a year.


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Martin Chuzzlewit

Martin Chuzzlewit - Published in monthly parts Jan 1843 - July 1844
Read it online | Shop for the Book | Shop for the Video | Illustrations | Locations

Illustration by Phiz Dickens sixth novel, written after taking a year off during which he visited America for the first time, was less than enthusiastically received. The novel deals with the greed of Old Martin's relatives, chiefly Mr. Pecksniff, hoping to inherit his wealth.

In the sixth installment, hoping to fend off lagging sales, Dickens has young Martin Chuzzlewit, the old man's grandson, go off to America. Dickens goes on to vent some of his ill feelings for the former colony he recently visited, American audiences were outraged.

In preparing installments of Martin Chuzzlewit Dickens began developing a design for the entire novel in advance of the monthly numbers. This represents a change from his early novels and is further developed in his next novel, Dombey and Son.

During the writing of Martin Chuzzlewit, and sales of the monthly parts disappointingly low, Dickens was experiencing financial difficulty. He had borrowed from his publishers for his American trip in 1842 and his wife Kate was expecting their fifth child. He responded by planning a small book for the Christmas season of 1843 which followed the theme of greed he was writing in Martin Chuzzlewit. The result was the classic A Christmas Carol, published in December 1843.

Principal Characters:
Character descriptions contain spoilers
Old Martin Chuzzlewit
Martin Chuzzlewit
Spottletoe (Mr and Mrs)
Seth Pecksniff
Mercy (Merry) Pecksniff
Charity (Cherry) Pecksniff
Tom Pinch
Ruth Pinch
John Westlock
Mary Graham
Anthony Chuzzlewit
Chuffey
Jonas Chuzzlewit
Montigue Tigg (Tigg Montigue)
Chevy Slyme
David Crimple
Dr Jobling
Nadgett
Lewsome
Sairey Gamp
Mrs Harris
Betsy Prig
Paul (Poll) Sweedlepipe
Mr Mould
Mark Tapley
Mrs Lupin
Mrs Todgers
Bailey (Benjamin)
Mr Jinkins
Mr Fips
Martin Chuzzlewit Links:
The Dickens Page
The Victorian Web
Bartleby.com
Hidden London - Martin Chuzzlewit
Wikipedia

American Characters

During Dickens trip to America in 1842 he is amazed at the American practice of bestowing honorary military titles. Thus many of the characters Mark and Martin meet in America sport these bogus titles.

Dickens paints most of the American characters as tobacco chewing buffoons who place gain above honor.

Mr Bevan
Colonel Diver
Jefferson Brick
General Fladdock
Major Pawkins
Captain Kedgick
Zephaniah Scadder
General Cyrus Choke
Hannibal Chollop
Elijah Pogram
Mrs Hominy
Norris family


Meet Mrs Gamp
Mrs Gamp

Even among the bizarre cast of characters in Dickens, Mrs Gamp is a piece of work. She is a nurse of sorts whose specialty lies in the polar extremities of life, the lying in and the laying out.



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