Monday, December 28, 2009

His eyes so dimmed with joy and pride.

I took this picture this morning while mooching around the City. It's an alley off Fleet Street, the kind of narrow entrance in what was then the publishing district where Charles Dickens dropped off his first unsolicited piece of writing, "A Dinner At Poplar Walk", in 1833. He later recalled:
" first copy of the Magazine in which my first effusion - dropped stealthily one evening at twilight, with fear and trembling, into a dark letter-box, in a dark office, up a dark court in Fleet Street - appeared in all the glory of print; on which memorable occasion - how well I recollect it! - I walked down to Westminster Hall, and turned into it for half-an-hour, because my eyes were so dimmed with joy and pride, that they could not bear the street, and were not fit to been seen there."
I don't know any other writers, from the highest to the lowest, who haven't experienced just the same combination of elation and embarrassment on first seeing their name in print.


  1. I work around those parts, and I'm yet to fail to be awed by the architechture and the, well, weight of history that is steeped in the place.

    If it inspired Dickens I am not surprised.

  2. I wrote my dissertation on Dickens's late novels, having been a fan since childhood. I live four miles from Rochester, and my house was built in 1812. I also just heard that I've been shortlisted for the Mslexia prize. It all augurs rather well.