Friday, February 10, 2012

Dickins* + Dickens* (for Dickens* or Dickins*)

The Dickens, you say! (According to Wordwizard, "the dickens" is a euphemistic expression or minced oath meaning "the devil," a corruption of the term "Old Nick.") No relation, however, Charles John Huffam Dickens was born 200 years ago this week, February 7, 1812, to be exact. While I haven't read a lot of Dickens (I'm told I should start, as he did, more or less, with his first published novel, The Pickwick Papers), I was fortunate recently to be given a sneak peek at a wonderful short story about Charles Dickens written by a colleague and as yet unpublished. It speaks to the deliciously arresting facts surrounding the Victorian author's relationship with his wife's sister, Georgina Hogarth. The unusual steps that Dickens ultimately took to reassure his gossiping neighbors of his sister-in-law's rectitude make for a tale worthy of his own pen. We discovered 122 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK and 921 in WorldCat, although there are bound to be some false hits among them.

(Portrait of Charles Dickens, daguerreotype, circa 1867-1868, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

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