Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Charles Dickens: The Pickwick Papers

Join us today and start reading The Pickwick Papers, so we can all chat about Samuel ("Sam") Pickwick, Tracy Tupman ("Tups"), Augustus Snodgrass (I don't want to call him "Snod" so let's just say "Gus), and Nathaniel Winkle ("Winkie"? "Nate").

If this is your New Year's resolution (to read Dicken's in 2006) it is time now to acquire the book either from your local library or your local bookstore.

My immediate first comments: Chesterton had a dog, I believe, named Winkle. I've also heard of a dog of his named Jingle. I don't know if these were the same dog, called two different Pickwickian names, or two different dogs. Anyone know? And since the dog Jingle talks about is called Ponto (I've just read about Ponto's amazing ability to read!) why didn't Chesterton call his dog Ponto, instead of naming it after a person?

Inquiring minds want to know.


  1. "In everybody there is a certain thing that loves babies, that fears death, that likes sunlight, and that thing enjoys Dickens" (GKC)

  2. I don't recall reading that GKC had a dog named Jingle, but according to Maisie Ward, GKC had ones named Winkle and Quoodle:

    "All the children who stayed at Beaconsfield have keen memories of the two dogs - Winkle and his successor Quoodle - and of Gilbert's ways with them. He would surreptitiously feed them during meals until Frances called a halt." [Ward, Return To Chesterton 114]

    The only appearance in AMBER of "Ponto" is in GKC as MC, in the preface to Thackeray's The Book of Snobs.

  3. Oh, I must have gotten Jingle and Quoodle mixed up, but how? They almost sound the same :-)

    Dickens must have read GKC and named Snobgrass after that book. ;-P

    Ronald McCloskey, Ronald McCloskey, where have I heard that name before?

    Well, then, Ronald, I *know* I will enjoy Dickens. For I adore babies, I don't really fear death (unless it is a slow and awful martydom by starvation), I love sunlight, and miss it terribly (we've had days and days of overcast here in the mid-west).

    I know that already I love this guy Jingle. I want to learn to talk that way..short sentences...jumbled but coherent...thoughts of sandwiches...totally interesting....mustn't write too much...people who write too much....often dull...dullness a virtue....only for those with no thoughts...must be going now....thanks for the beer and burgundy...till five then....

  4. Nancy, Ronald McCloskey is the founding editor of the magazine. His are very, very big shoes to fill.

  5. That's right! See, I knew I knew that name. (Hi Ronald! Nice to meet you.)

    How long has Gilbert been in publication? I don't know. I only became a Chestertonian about 5 years ago.

  6. We are in our ninth year, an amazing run (and still running!) for a "niche" publication such as ours.

    There were a couple of times in the early years when it nearly folded altogether, but mad scrambling by Ron, founding publisher John Peterson, and others somehow kept it going.

    Like I said, very, very big shoes to fill.


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