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في الجمعة نوفمبر 06, 2009 11:39 am
First visit to America


In
1842, Dickens made his first trip to America
travelling with his wife to the United States
and Canada,
a journey which was successful in spite of his support for the abolition of slavery. The trip is described in
the short travelogue American Notes for
General Circulation
and is also the basis of some of the episodes in
Martin Chuzzlewit. Dickens includes in Notes a
powerful condemnation of slavery,[17]
with "ample proof" of the "atrocities" he found.[18]
He called upon President John Tyler at the White House.[19]



During
this visit, Dickens spent time in New York City, where he gave lectures, raised
support for copyright laws, and recorded many of his impressions of America. He
toured the City for a month, and met such luminaries as Washington Irving
and William Cullen Bryant. On 14 February 1842, a Boz Ball (named
after his pseudonym) was held in his honour at the Park Theater, with 3,000 of New York’s elite present. Among the
neighbourhoods he visited were Five Points, Wall Street,
The Bowery,
and the prison known as The Tombs.[20]
At this time Georgina Hogarth, another sister of Catherine,
joined the Dickens household, now living at Devonshire Terrace, Marylebone,
to care for the young family they had left behind.[21]
She remained with them as housekeeper, organiser, adviser and friend until her
brother-in-law's death in 1870.



Shortly
thereafter, he began to show interest in Unitarian
Christianity, although he remained an Anglican,
at least nominally, for the rest of his life.[22]
Dickens's work continued to be popular, especially A Christmas Carol
written in 1843, the first of his Christmas books, which was reputedly a potboiler
written in a matter of weeks to meet the expenses of his wife's fifth
pregnancy. After living briefly abroad in Italy (1844) and Switzerland
(1846), Dickens continued his success with Dombey and Son
(1848); David Copperfield (1849–50).



Philanthropy


In
May 1846, Angela Burdett
Coutts
, the wealthy heir to the Coutts banking fortune, approached
Dickens about setting up a home for the redemption of "fallen" women.
Coutts envisioned a home that would offer a different approach to other
organizations that offered a harsh and punishing regimen for these women, and
instead provide a disciplined but supportive environment where they could learn
to read and write and become proficient in domestic household chores so as to
re-integrate them into society gently. After initially resisting, Dickens
eventually founded the home, named Urania Cottage, in the Lime Grove section of
Shepherds Bush.
He would end up becoming involved in many aspects of its day-to-day running,
setting the house rules, reviewing the accounts and also interviewing
prospective residents, some of whom became characters in his books. He would
scour prisons and workhouses for potentially suitable candidates and relied on
friends, such as the Magistrate John Hardwick to bring them to his attention.
Once found, each potential candidate was given an anonymous printed invitation
written by Dickens called ‘An Appeal to Fallen Women’, which he signed only as
‘Your friend’. If the woman accepted the invitation, Dickens would personally
interview her and decide if she could be admitted to the home.[23][24]
In late November 1851, Dickens moved into Tavistock House[25]
where he would write Bleak House (1852–53), Hard Times
(1854) and Little Dorrit (1857). It was here he got up the amateur
theatricals which are described in Forster's Life.

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