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Susan Shatto and David Paroissien, General Editors

The objective of this series is the full factual annotation of all Dickens’s fiction in nineteen separate volumes. This total includes fifteen novels, Sketches by Boz, five Christmas Books treated in a single volume and The Uncommercial Traveller. A General Index will complete the undertaking.
   The information in each volume is arranged in the form of notes presented for convenient use with any edition of Dickens’s works. Short notes typically supply historical data on a profuse variety of topics. Longer, discursive notes assemble facts and contextual information students need to understand issues central to individual novels.

Thus details about food, costume and transport, for example, appear alongside notes about the causes of political unrest, government crises, the evolution of England’s Poor Laws, the availability of opium in Victorian London, the presence of cholera and other matters of public health and safety.
   Eight volumes in the series have now been published, the most recent is Volume 8, The Companion to ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ by Nancy Aycock Metz, published in December 2001. Allen & Unwin (later Unwin/Hyman) originated the series and published four titles (now out of print) before Edinburgh University Press took over and published The Companion to ‘Oliver Twist’ (also now out of print). Helm Information published Volume 6, The Companion to ‘Hard Times’ in October 1997 and Volume 7, The Companion to 'Great Expectations' in August 2000.
   The published volumes have been widely praised for their usefulness and range of detail. Only with this series, reviewers have commented, has Dickens begun to receive the annotation customary for Shakespeare, Milton and other writers of comparable stature. Once completed, the series will have performed a lasting service. The Dickens Companions, together with the Clarendon edition of the texts of Dickens’s novels and the Pilgrim edition of his letters will form one of the foundations of Dickens studies in the twenty-first century, No existing or foreseeable Dickens project offers a comparable challenge.
   The need to annotate comprehensively Dickens’s novels was recognised over three decades ago when a group of US scholars met in Denver, Colorado, under the auspices of The Modern Language Convention in 1969. Completion of this project would bring to closure an undertaking central to the continued study and enjoyment of an English author whose world-wide appeal is second only to Shakespeare’s.

Series Format
Annotations are keyed to individual chapters and supplied for the entire novel. To help readers find annotated material from the novel’s text, authors of the Companions provide in italics the opening phrase of the paragraph in which the annotation appears. Bold-face type then identifies the passage or phrase to be annotated, after which the explanatory note follows, the length varying according to the subject and its importance. Thus each Companion serves any edition of its respective novel, since readers turning from the novel in search of a note on a particular word or phrase need only consult the appropriate chapter in the Companion and locate the italicised phrase of the paragraph in which the sought information is set out.
   This format thus makes accessible the dense ‘solidity of specificity’ so easily lost on readers unfamiliar with Dickens’s characteristic allusiveness. As a source for dependable factual information, the Companions serve a wide spectrum of international readers. Each book is the result of extensive original research, making the series useful to the community of scholars interested both in Dickens and in all aspects of Victorian Britain. As books to browse in, they also appeal to amateur Dickens enthusiasts and to students engaged in the study of English at various secondary and university levels.

From Hard Times, Book I, Chapter 3 [actual text]:
‘You! Thomas and you, to whom the circle of the sciences is open; Thomas and you, who may be said to be replete with facts; Thomas and you who have been trained to mathematical exactness; Thomas and you, here!’ cried Mr. Gradgrind.

From The Companion to ‘Hard Times’ :
‘You! Thomas and you, to whom the circle of the sciences is open.]  This image may have been suggested by Henry Morley’s HW article, ‘School-Keeping’, in which an ideal headmaster is advised to ‘have a full elementary knowledge of the entire circle of the sciences’ (8 [20 January 1854] 499–504, 501). The term also served as the title of a series of science textbooks, Orr’s Circle of the sciences; a series of treatises on the principles of science with their application to practical pursuits, edited and published by William Somerville Orr during the early months of 1854. The initial series covered ‘the mathematical sciences’ under three headings: ‘Simple arithmetic, algebra, and the Elements of Euclid’, ‘Planes, spherical trigonometry, series, logarithms and mensuration’ and ‘Practical geometry’. Later volumes, which appeared between 1854 and 1855, considered ‘The principles of physiology’, and ‘A system of natural history’ (Baker, 1977, 78).

Forthcoming Titles
The Companion to ‘The Uncomercial Traveller’ & Essays by John Drew 978-1-903206-36-2
The Companion to ‘Nicholas Nickleby’
by David Parossien and Susan Shatto 978-1-903206-06-5
The Companion to ‘The Christmas Books’ by Edward Leeson 978-1-903206-22-x
The Companion to ‘Dombey and Son’ by Trey Philpotts 978-1-903206-26-X
The Dickens Companions Index by Edward Leeson 978-1-903206-05-8
The Companion to 'The Pickwick Papers' by David Parker 978-1-903206-35-5

Paperback Reprints
The Companion to 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Andrew Sanders 978-1-903206-14-6, 12.50, 2002

To be assigned
David Copperfield’ , ‘Sketches by Boz’, ‘Barnaby Rudge’, ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ and ‘The Uncommercial Traveller’

Out of Print - Will be available in POD reprints
The Companion to ‘Our Mutual Friend’ by Michael Cotsell, Allen & Unwin, 1986. OP
The Companion to ‘The Mysteries of Edwin Drood’ by Wendy S. Jacobson, Allen & Unwin, 1986. OP
The Companion to ‘Bleak House’ by by Susan Shatto, Unwin Hyman, 1988. OP
The Companion to ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Andrew Sanders, Unwin Hyman, 1988. OP Available in Paperback reprint
The Companion to ‘Oliver Twist’ by David Paroissien, Edinburgh UP, 1992. OP

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