The Manuscript of Great Expectations: From the Townshend Collection, Wisbech by Charles Dickens
The novels of Charles Dickens (1812-70), with their inimitable energy and their comic, tragic and grotesque characters, are still widely read, and reworked for film and television. Dickens himself had the original manuscripts of his works bound and presented them to his friends. That of Great Expectations was given to Chauncy Hare Townshend, with whom Dickens shared an interest in mesmerism and the occult. Townshend bequeathed his library (including the manuscript), together with collections of paintings and objects, to the Wisbech and Fenland Museum in 1868. The manuscript has been newly photographed and is here reproduced in colour and at actual size. The Cambridge Library Collection is also reissuing the serialised version of Great Expectations (1860-1) and the first book edition (1861, in three volumes). Dickens scholars and enthusiasts can now study the work-in-progress, with all its deletions and revisions, alongside the first two published versions.