Sketches of Young Gentlemen and Young Couples

With Sketches of Young Ladies by Edward Caswall
Phiz (illus.). Sketches of Young Gentlemen and Young Couples: With Sketches of Young Ladies by Edward Caswall. Oxford Univ. Mar. 2012. c.240p. illus. ISBN 9780199603282. $18.95. LIT
While The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist were overlapping each other in serial publication, the book Sketches of Young Gentlemen (1838) came out, followed later by Sketches of Young Couples (1840). Dickens's authorship was only revealed after his death. They were commissioned by publishers Chapman and Hall to follow the success of Sketches of Young Ladies, by Quiz (a less-gifted author named Edward Caswall). Since Caswall's collection began it all, it is included here. The Dickens sketches, averaging about five pages in length, are fun to read on their own terms and renew our appreciation of the sketch form by which Dickens moved so inimitably from nonfiction to fiction, and they still resonate today (e.g., "The Political Young Gentleman," who "will declaim by the hour…not that he has any particular information on the subject," and "The Couple who Dote upon their Children," who "recognize no dates but those connected with their births, accidents, illnesses, or remarkable deeds").
VERDICT Recommended to lovers of early Dickens and Dickens completists.
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