Sketches by Boz
Sketches by Boz
Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140433456, 688pp.
Publication Date: May 1996
Published under the pen-name 'Boz', Charles Dickens's first book "Sketches by Boz" (1836) heralded an exciting new voice in English literature. This richly varied collection of observation, fancy and fiction shows the London he knew so intimately at its best and worst - its streets, theatres, inns, pawnshops, law courts, prisons, omnibuses and the river Thames - in honest and visionary descriptions of everyday life and people. Through pen portraits that often anticipate characters from his great novels, we see the condemned man in his prison cell, garrulous matrons, vulgar young clerks and Scrooge-like bachelors, while Dickens's powers for social critique are never far from the surface, in unflinching depictions of the vast metropolis's forgotten citizens, from child workers to prostitutes. A startling mixture of humour and pathos, these "Sketches "reveal London as wonderful terrain for an extraordinary young writer. In his introduction, Dennis Walder discusses Dickens's social commentary, his view of London and his imaginative mixing of genres, and places the "Sketches "in the tradition of eighteenth and nineteenth-century reportage. This edition also includes the original illustrations by George Cruickshank, a chronology, further reading, appendices and notes.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust theseries to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-datetranslations by award-winning translators.
Dennis Walder is Professor of Literature at the Open University and Founding Director of the Literature Department's Colonial and Post-Colonial Research Group. He has published widely on topics ranging from Dickens to V.S. Naipaul.
Walter Bagehot once remarked, Dickens wrote about London "like a special correspondent for posterity".
"The first sprightly runnings of his genius are undoubtedly here," wrote Dickens’s friend and biographer John Forster.