Master Humphrey's Clock

Master Humphrey's Clock was a weekly periodical edited and written entirely by Charles Dickens and published from 4 April 1840 to 4 December 1841. It began with a frame story in which Master Humphrey tells about himself and his small circle of friends (which includes Mr. Pickwick), and their penchant for telling stories. Several short stories were included, followed by the novels The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge. It is generally thought that Dickens originally intended The Old Curiosity Shop as a short story like the others that had appeared in Master Humphrey's Clock, but after a few chapters decided to extend it into a novel. Master Humphrey appears as the first-person narrator in the first three chapters of The Old Curiosity Shop but then disappears, stating, "And now that I have carried this history so far in my own character and introduced these personages to the reader, I shall for the convenience of the narrative detach myself from its further course, and leave those who have prominent and necessary parts in it to speak and act for themselves."

Master Humphrey is a lonely man who lives in London. He keeps old manuscripts in an antique longcase clock by the chimney-corner. One day, he decides that he would start a little club, called Master Humphrey's Clock, where the members would read out their manuscripts to the others. The members include Master Humphrey; a deaf gentleman, Jack Redburn; retired merchant Owen Miles; and Mr. Pickwick from The Pickwick Papers. A mirror club in the kitchen, Mr. Weller's Watch, run by Mr. Weller, has members including Humphrey's maid, the barber and Sam Weller.

Master Humphrey's Clock appeared after The Old Curiosity Shop, to introduce Barnaby Rudge. After Barnaby Rudge, Master Humphrey is left by himself by the chimney corner in a train of thoughts. Here, the deaf gentleman continues the narration. Later, the deaf gentleman and his friends return to Humphrey's house to find him dead. Humphrey has left money for the barber and the maid (no doubt by traces of love that they would be married). Redburn and the deaf gentleman look after the house and the club closes for good.

In the portion of Master Humphrey's Clock which succeeds The Old Curiosity Shop, Master Humphrey reveals to his friends that he is the character referred to as the 'single gentleman' in that story.

Master Humphrey's Clock
Masterclock serial cover
Cover, first edition of Master Humphrey's Clock, 1840
AuthorEditor: Charles Dickens ("Boz")
IllustratorGeorge Cattermole
Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz)
Samuel Williams
Daniel Maclise
Cover artistGeorge Cattermole
4 April 1840 -
4 December 1841
GenreFiction Social criticism
PublisherChapman & Hall
Publication date
Media typePrint (Serial)

Story order

Master Humphrey's Clock was a weekly serial that contained both short stories and two novels (The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge). Some of the short stories act as frame stories to the novels so the ordering of publication is important.

Although Dickens' original artistic intent was to keep the short stories and the novels together, he himself cancelled Master Humphrey's Clock before 1848, and described in a preface to The Old Curiosity Shop that he wished the story to not be tied down to the miscellany it began within.[1] Most later anthologies published the short stories and the novels separately. However, the short stories and the novels were published in 1840 in three bound volumes under the title Master Humphrey's Clock, which retains the full and correct ordering of texts as they originally appeared. The illustrations in these volumes were by George Cattermole and Hablot Browne, better known as "Phiz".

External links


  1. ^ Charles Dickens - Preface to The Old Curiosity Shop, 1848 Cheap Edition
1840 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1840.

1841 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1841.

Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty (commonly known as Barnaby Rudge) is a historical novel by British novelist Charles Dickens. Barnaby Rudge was one of two novels (the other was The Old Curiosity Shop) that Dickens published in his short-lived (1840–1841) weekly serial Master Humphrey's Clock. Barnaby Rudge is largely set during the Gordon Riots of 1780.

Barnaby Rudge was the fifth of Dickens' novels to be published. It had originally been planned to appear as his first, but changes of publisher led to many delays, and it first appeared in serial form in the Clock from February to November 1841.

It was Dickens' first historical novel. His only other is the much later A Tale of Two Cities, also set in revolutionary times. It is one of his less popular novels and has rarely been adapted for film or television. The last production was a 1960 BBC production; prior to that, silent films were made in 1911 and 1915.

Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle is a market town in Teesdale, County Durham, England. It is named after the castle around which it was built. It is the main settlement in the Teesdale area, and is a popular tourist destination. The Bowes Museum has the best collection of European fine and decorative arts in the North of England, housed in a "magnificent" 19th-century French-style chateau. Its most famous exhibit is the 18th-century Silver Swan automaton, though art includes work by Goya and El Greco.

Barnard Castle sits on the north bank of the River Tees, opposite Startforth and 21 miles (34 km) south-west of the county town of Durham. Nearby towns include Bishop Auckland to the north-east, Darlington to the east and Richmond in North Yorkshire to the south-east.

Barnard Castle's largest single employer is GlaxoSmithKline which has a manufacturing facility on the outskirts of town.

Bleak House, Broadstairs

Bleak House (originally known as Fort House) is a prominent house on the cliff overlooking the North Foreland and Viking Bay in Broadstairs, Kent. It was built around 1801 and then substantially extended, doubling in size, in 1901. The house was the site of the North Cliff Battery and was used as a coastal station for observing maritime activity.The house is Grade II listed on the National Heritage List for England.

Catherine Dickens

Catherine Thomson "Kate" Dickens (née Hogarth; 19 May 1815 – 22 November 1879) was the wife of English novelist Charles Dickens, and the mother of his ten children.

Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed readings extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.

Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. Cliffhanger endings in his serial publications kept readers in suspense. The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. For example, when his wife's chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens improved the character with positive features. His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha'pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction. Dickens has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell, G. K. Chesterton and Tom Wolfe—for his realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.

Charles Dickens bibliography

The bibliography of Charles Dickens (1812–70) includes more than a dozen major novels, a large number of short stories (including Christmas-themed stories and ghost stories), several plays, several non-fiction books, and individual essays and articles. Dickens's novels were serialized initially in weekly or monthly magazines, then reprinted in standard book formats.

Clifton Fadiman

Clifton Paul "Kip" Fadiman (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999) was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio and television personality. He began his work with the radio, and switched to television later in his career.

Dickens (TV series)

Dickens (renamed Uncovering the Real Dickens upon its DVD release) was a 2002 BBC docudrama on the life of the author Charles Dickens. It was presented by Peter Ackroyd, on whose biography of Dickens it was based, and Dickens was played by Anton Lesser. It was broadcast in three hour-long episodes.

Dickens family

The Dickens family are the descendants of John Dickens, the father of the English novelist Charles Dickens. John Dickens was a clerk in the Royal Navy Pay Office and had eight children from his marriage to Elizabeth Barrow. Two were from previous wives, having had ten children overall.

John Dickens was according to his son Charles "a jovial opportunist with no money sense" and was the inspiration for Mr Micawber in David Copperfield.

The family members include:

John Dickens (1785–1851)married Elizabeth Barrow (1789–1863); 8 children

Frances Elizabeth Dickens (1810–1848)

Charles Dickens (1812–1870), English novelist of the Victorian eramarried Catherine Hogarth (1815–1879); 10 children

1. Charles Culliford Boz Dickens (1837–1896), editor and writer, married Elizabeth Matilda Moule Evans; 8 children, including

Mary Angela Dickens (1862–1948), journalist and novelist and writer of Children's Stories from Dickens

Sydney Margaret Dickens, married Thomas WhinneyHumphrey WhinneyMichael Humphrey Dickens Whinney (1930–2017), Church of England bishop

2. Mary "Mamie" Dickens (1838–1896)

3. Catherine Elizabeth Macready Dickens (1839–1929), artist, married (i) Charles Allston Collins (1828–1872), (ii) Charles Edward Perugini (1839–1918); 1 child by (ii), died in infancy.

4. Walter Savage Landor Dickens (1841–1863), officer in the British Indian Army

5. Francis Jeffrey Dickens (1844–1886), member of the North-West Mounted Police

6. Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens (1845–1912), emigrated to Australia; lecturer on his father's life; 2 daughters

7. Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens (1847–1872), a Royal Navy officer

8. Henry Fielding Dickens (1849–1933), King's Counsel and barrister; married Marie Roche (1852–1940); 7 children

Enid Henrietta Dickens (1877–1950) married Ernest Bouchier Hawksley (1876–1931)Aileen Dickens Bouchier Hawksley (1907–1961) married (i) Downing (ii) Alan Napier-ClaveringJennifer Downing (1932–1993), actress, married Peter Forster (1920–1982)Brian Forster, actor, great-great-great grandson of Charles DickensCyril Dickens Bouchier Hawksley (1909–1976)Henry Dickens Bouchier HawksleyJoanna Mary Dickens Baldwin, great-great-great granddaughter of Charles Dickens

Virginia (Ginny) Jane Dickens Hawksley-Lennard, great-great-great granddaughter of Charles Dickens

Lucinda Anne Dickens Hawksley, author, great-great-great granddaughter of Charles DickensHenry Charles Dickens (1878–1966)Monica Enid Dickens (1915–1992), British writer, great-granddaughter of Charles DickensGerald Charles Dickens (1879–1962), admiral in the Royal NavyPeter Gerald Charles Dickens (1917–1987), captain in the Royal NavyMark Dickens, Royal Navy officer

Marion Evelyn DickensHarry Lloyd, actor, great-great-great grandson of Charles DickensDavid Charles Dickens (1925–2005), editor of medical books, great-grandson of Charles DickensGerald Charles Dickens, actor, great-great grandson of Charles DickensCameron Thomas Charles DickensPhilip Charles Dickens (1887–1964)Cedric Charles Dickens (1916–2006), great-grandson of Charles Dickens and steward of his literary legacyCedric Charles Dickens (1889–1916), died in World War I9. Dora Annie Dickens (1850–1851)

10. Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens (1852–1902), emigrated to AustraliaAlfred Allen Dickens (1813)

Letitia Dickens (1816–1893), married Henry Austin, architect and artist

Harriet Dickens (1819–1824)

Frederick Dickens (1820–1868), the inspiration for two different Freds in his brother's books: the jovial nephew of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and the dissolute brother of Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop.

Alfred Lamert Dickens (1822–1860), railway engineerAlfred Charles Dickens (1847–1878), Edmund Henry Dickens (1849–1910), Florence Helen Dickens (1850–1941), Katherine Louisa Dickens (1853/54–1921), Augusta Maud Colls (1857–1941)Augustus Dickens (1827–1866), moved to Chicago in the United States with Bertha Phillips (1829–1868)

Dickens in America

Dickens in America is a 2005 television documentary following Charles Dickens' travels across the United States in 1842, during which the young journalist penned a travel book, American Notes.

In Dickens In America, distinguished British actress Miriam Margolyes, a lifelong fan of Dickens, follows Dickens' 1842 American footsteps while encountering 21st-century US and some of its residents.

Interspersing history, travelogue and interviews, Dickens In America offers insight into Charles Dickens' love/hate relationship with North America and paints a personal and revealing portrait of modern-day US.

This 10-part road trip is suffused with optimism, a social conscience and the usual Dickens eye for the comic, the critical and the satirical. Dickens In America assesses a young radical Dickens' view of the emerging country's manners and morals, its flaws, fashions and its fascination with celebrity.

It was produced by Lion Television Scotland for BBC Four. The producer was Richard Shaw. The series was directed by Christopher Swann.

Dickensian (TV series)

Dickensian is a British drama television series that premiered on BBC One from 26 December 2015 to 21 February 2016. The 20-part series, created and co-written by Tony Jordan, brings characters from many Charles Dickens novels together in one Victorian London neighbourhood, as Inspector Bucket investigates the murder of Ebenezer Scrooge's partner Jacob Marley.

Edward Oxford

Edward Oxford (19 April 1822 – 23 April 1900) was the first of eight people who tried to assassinate Queen Victoria. After Oxford was arrested and charged with treason, a jury found that Oxford was not guilty by reason of insanity and he was detained at Her Majesty's pleasure in the State Criminal Lunatic Asylum and later, in Broadmoor Hospital. Eventually given conditional release for transportation to a British colony, he lived out the remainder of his life in Australia.

Frederic Chapman

Frederic Chapman (1823–1 March 1895) was a publisher of the Victorian era who became a partner in Chapman & Hall, who published the works of Charles Dickens and Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, among others.

Gads Hill Place

Gads Hill Place in Higham, Kent, sometimes spelt Gadshill Place and Gad's Hill Place, was the country home of Charles Dickens, the most successful British author of the Victorian era. Today the building is the independent Gad's Hill School.

The house was built in 1780 for a former Mayor of Rochester, Thomas Stephens, opposite the present Sir John Falstaff Public House. Gad's Hill is where Falstaff commits the robbery that begins Shakespeare's Henriad trilogy (Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V).

Master Humphrey

Master Humphrey is the narrator and main character in Dickens's serial, Master Humphrey's Clock. He is also the unnamed narrator of the first three chapters of Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop which was originally published in that serial. It is revealed in the portion of Master Humphrey's Clock which follows The Old Curiosity Shop that he is also in fact the unnamed 'single gentleman' who appears in the second half of that novel.

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.

The New World (newspaper)

The New World was a weekly newspaper in New York City, New York, in the United States.The New World was published from October 1839 to 1845 by J. Winchester. The paper was founded and edited by Park Benjamin Sr. It billed itself as an apolitical "family newspaper", featuring British and American literature and religious discourses. The paper's masthead reads: "No pent-up Utica contracts our powers; The whole unbounded Continent is ours!," a quote originally attributed to Jonathan M. Sewall from his epilogue to Cato, a Tragedy in 1778.Notable contributions include:

Charles Dickens' Barnaby Rudge, reprinted in 1841 in weekly installments after its original appearance in Master Humphrey's Clock.

Thomas Carlyle's six-part lecture series On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History, printed in 1841.

Thomas Moore’s "Fifteen Songs," a collection of unpublished songs published in 1841, which were later released in The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore.

Anna Cora Mowatt’s complete play, Gulzara or The Persian Slave: 1 drama in Five Acts, in 1841.

E.P. Hurlbut's "The Rights of Woman," later published in his work, Essays on Human Rights and their Political Gauranties in 1845. Hurlbut knew Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 follows many of the examples set forth in "The Rights of Woman."

G.P.R. James' complete novels, The Jacquerie and Morley Ernstein; or, The Tenants of the Heart, both published in extra editions in 1842.

Sarah Stickney Ellis' complete novel, Summer and Winter in the Pyrenees.

The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop is one of two novels (the other being Barnaby Rudge) which Charles Dickens published along with short stories in his weekly serial Master Humphrey's Clock, from 1840 to 1841. It was so popular that New York readers stormed the wharf when the ship bearing the final installment arrived in 1841. The Old Curiosity Shop was printed in book form in 1841.

The plot follows the life of Nell Trent and her grandfather, both residents of The Old Curiosity Shop in London.

Queen Victoria read the novel in 1841, and found it "very interesting and cleverly written".

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