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English-Language Literature: Library Resources: Dickens

This page lists sources that cover multiple periods, genres, and/or nationalities. See additional resources in the "Historical Literary Period" and "Geographical Region" pages.

Books by Dickens

To find the Library's books BY Charles Dickens, start at the Library website, click on the "Catalogs" tab in the top bar, and then click on "Search UCSD" to get to Roger, UCSD Library's online catalog. Change "keyword" to "author" and type Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870, then scroll down until you see the title of the book(s) you are looking for. Most of our books by Dickens--we have almost 600 separate editions as of mid-April 2015--are in print format, but there will also be links to digital databases that contain 19th century editions and to some 21st century ebook editions. Some rare early editions (see the box at the bottom of the middle column) are housed in Special Collections & Archives, which you are welcome to examine; but the majority are either on the 7th floor of Geisel or can be requested from off-site storage.

First, Early, or Rare Editions of Dickens in UCSD Special Collections & Archives

Listed in order of publication.

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. First edition. The original parts, but they have been bound together. London: Chapman & Hall, 1837. 20 parts in 19. The illustrators are: Robert Seymour (#1-2), Robert W. Buss (#3), and Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz") (#4-20).  RARE PR 4569 .A1 1837

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.  First American edition. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1837. 5 volumes. UCSD set mixed: title page of volume 1 indicates "3rd ed." (i.e., printing). RARE PR 4569 .A1 1837a 

Oliver Twist. Second edition. London: R. Bentley, 1838. 3 volumes. Illustrations by George Cruikshank. Previously published as 1 volume; this set published with circulating libraries in mind. UCSD has only volume 1.

Master Humphrey's Clock / Old Curiosity Shop. London: Chapman & Hall, 1840-1841. 2 vols. Illustrations by George Cattermole and Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). RARE PR 4566 .A1 1840

The Personal History, Adventures, Experience & Observation of  David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (which he never meant to be published on any account). London: Bradbury & Evans, 1849-1850. The original edition, in monthly parts, with original wrappers, which appeared before it was published as a book.. All illustrations are by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). RARE PR 4558 .A1 1849

Christmas Books. First edition of this collection. London: Chapman & Hall, 1852. A volume in the publishe's "Cheap Edition" series. Illustrations by John Leech. Consists of A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man.

Christmas Books. First American "edition." London: Chapman & Hall, n.d.  Illustrations by F. Barnard. Stamped on front cover: "New York D. Appleton & Co." Published as one of Appleton's "Household Edition."

Bleak House. First edition, in monthly parts. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1853. 20 parts in 19, with original wrappers. All illustrations are by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz").  RARE PR 4556 .A1 1853.  Note: Special Collections also has a second set, which was bound as a book, but it is extremely fragile.

Household Words. "Conducted" (edited) by Charles Dickens. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1850-1859. (UCSD has only the issues published in 1855). RARE AP 4 .H9

Little Dorrit. First edition as a bound book. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1857. All illustrations are by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). RARE PR 4562 .A1 1857

Our Mutual Friend. London: Chapman & Hall, 1865. The original 20 parts, bound into two volumes. RARE PR 4568 .A1 1865

Little Dorrit. Household edition in parts, 1873. Uncataloged.


Scholarly Articles about Dickens

Roger, the Library's catalog, lists books, videos, websites, and the titles of journals we subscribe to, but does not index or list every article in all of those journals. The largest and most comprehensive bibliographical database for the study of English literature is The MLA International Bibliography.   Here is a sample search, for articles written about orphans and/or orphanages in Dickens's works or during his era:

Row One: Dickens, Charles    in  Subject (change from Anywhere)

Row Two: AND Orphan*         in Subject (change from Anywhere)

Note: The asterisk after Orphan is a truncation symbol, and will search for orphan, orphans, or orphanage(s).

As of April 29, 2015, there are 16 references to articles in the database that match this search, including 6 articles in journals or annuals, 6 essays or chapters in books, 1 book, and 3 dissertations.  To eliminate references of a particular kind you may add a third row, changing the box that says "AND" to "NOT," such as: 

NOT Diss.             in Anywhere  

To find out whether The Library has the cited article or book you're interested in reading, click on the orange "UC eLinks" button. You will be taken either directly to an online source or to a page that provides links to online sources, to Roger, or to Melvyl, the catalog of the entire UC System.

The search screen also allows you to refine your search in other ways, such as limiting the results to English-language citations only, to citations published in the past 3 years, or to peer-reviewed articles.

Books about Dickens

To discover the Library's books ABOUT Dickens, go to Roger and change the word Keyword to Subject. Type Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. Books about Dickens are categorized alphabetically by broad topic or type of book. For example:

Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870--Characters--Orphans

Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870--Criticism and Interpretation

Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870--Illustrations

For books that focus on one of Dickens' novels, type the title after Dickens' name. For example:

Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870--Oliver Twist

Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870--Great Expectations--Sources


Illustration Techniques and Illustrators

The best short introduction to the two types of illustration techniques--wood engraving and etching on metal plates--used by Dickens and his contemporaries appears on "The Technologies of Nineteenth Century Illustration.  The main body of this webpage consists of biographical information about the artists who illustrated Dickens's works; scroll down on the left column to the section "Illustrations in Dickens" Methods of Reproduction" for a useful illustration of how metal plates with etchings became pieces of paper with illustrations.

Best books about Dickens's illustrators:

Kitton, Frederic G. Dickens and His Illustrators. London: George Redway, 1899.        PR 4577 .K4 1899 Oversize on 8th floor.

Harvey, J.R. Victorian Novelists and Their Illustrators. New York: New York University Press, 1971. In the chapters on Dickens, the focus is on George Cruikshank and Hablot Browne ("Phiz").  PR 878 .I4 H3 1971  7th floor

Cohen, Jane R. Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1980. An updating of Kitton. PR 4586 .C6 1980  7th floor


Online Sources about Dickens and His Times

The Victorian Web. One of the oldest scholarly websites in the humanities, it links over 81,000 documents about all aspects of Victorian life. Read the Introduction first.

Charles Dickens Resources from the British Library. A short biography and links to selected full texts, images, articles, and talks about Dickens and his literary environment.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online. This large resource consists of 4 separate archives of material--newspaper and magazine articles, government reports, maps, photographs, and ephemeral materials (theater playbills, etc.). The two that are most relevant for the study of Dickens are: British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture and British Politics and Society. They can be searched together or separately. Together, they provide a lot of primary material about poverty and poorhouses, orphanages, inheritance laws, details of the city of London, the British perspective on social upheavals in France, etc.  

The Dickens Project. A portal to lots of things about Dickens, although not as much full text or as detail as The Victorian Web. Maintained at UC Santa Cruz.

Charles Dickens in the Marketplace. Online catalog accompanying an exhibit at the Vassar College Library in 2009.

Charles Dickens at 200: A Christmas Carol. From a major exhibition of Dickens' manuscripts and correspondence owned by the Morgan Library in New York City, this online exhibit features a facsimile of the original 1843 manuscript of A Christmas Carol.

At the Circulating Library: A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837-1901. This source contains abundant bibliographical information and publishing statistics; it doesn't contain full texts.