The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens
Edited by Jenny Hartley
Oxford University Press: 458 pp., $34.95
This is the bicentennial year of Charles Dickens' birth. We need no reminder of his eminence as novelist, but there are celebrations of his other attainments as well. "The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens" is part of that. As its editor observes, a 12-volume edition of letters already exists; it took from 1965 to 2002 to compile the British Academy Pilgrim Edition "The Letters of Charles Dickens." Although in September 1860 the writer made a bonfire of personal papers in a field at his house, Gad's Hill, some 14,000 missives survived. The...