Susan Shatto and David Paroissien, General Editors
The objective of this series
is the full factual annotation of all Dickenss 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 information in each volume is arranged in the form of notes presented for
convenient use with any edition of Dickenss 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
Thus details about food, costume and transport, for
example, appear alongside notes about the causes of political unrest, government crises,
the evolution of Englands 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 Dickenss 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
The need to annotate comprehensively Dickenss 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 Shakespeares.
From Hard Times,
Book I, Chapter 3 [actual text]:
Annotations are keyed to individual chapters and supplied for
the entire novel. To help readers find annotated material from the novels 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 Dickenss 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.
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.
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 Morleys 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] 499504, 501). The term also served as the title of a series of science
textbooks, Orrs 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).
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
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
The Companion to 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Andrew Sanders 978-1-903206-14-6, £12.50,
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
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.
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,