A House to Let

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Overview

"A House to Let" is a short story by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and Adelaide Anne Procter. It was originally published in 1858 in the Christmas edition of Dickens' Household Words magazine. Each of the contributors wrote a chapter and the story was edited by Dickens.

"A House to Let" was the first collaboration between the four writers, although Collins and Dickens had worked with Procter on previous Christmas stories for the magazine in 1854, 1855, and 1856. The four authors would write together again in 1859's "The

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A House to Let

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Overview

"A House to Let" is a short story by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and Adelaide Anne Procter. It was originally published in 1858 in the Christmas edition of Dickens' Household Words magazine. Each of the contributors wrote a chapter and the story was edited by Dickens.

"A House to Let" was the first collaboration between the four writers, although Collins and Dickens had worked with Procter on previous Christmas stories for the magazine in 1854, 1855, and 1856. The four authors would write together again in 1859's "The Haunted House" which appeared in the extra Christmas number of All the Year Round, the successor to Household Words which Dickens had started after a dispute with his publishers.

In a letter to Collins from 6 September 1858, Dickens outlined his idea for a Christmas story. He originally envisioned the story being written by himself and Collins with his plot outline fleshed out by Collins, but was later to invite Gaskell and Procter to contribute chapters. Dickens and Collins wrote the first chapter, "Over the Way", and the last chapter "Let at Last" together, and each of the writers wrote one of the intervening chapters: Gaskell "The Manchester Marriage", Dickens "Going into Society", Procter "Three Evenings in the House" and Collins "Trottle's Report".

The plot concerns an elderly woman, Sophonisba, who notices signs of life in a supposedly empty dilapidated house (the eponymous "House to Let") opposite her own and employs the efforts of an elderly admirer, Jabez Jarber, and her servant, Trottle, to discover what is happening within.

A dramatisation of "A House to Let" was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 during the week of 11-15 December 2006. It was repeated on Radio Four Extra during the week 26-30 December 2011.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Compiled by Charles Dickens, and including chapters by Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins, A House to Let is a composite tale of mystery and intrigue set amid the dark streets of Victorian London.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781406556025
  • Publisher: Dodo Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Pages: 100
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens is probably the greatest novelist England ever produced. His innate comic genius and shrewd depictions of Victorian life -- along with his memorable characters -- have made him beloved by readers the world over. In Dickens' books live some of the most repugnant villains in literature, as well as some of the most likeable (and unlikely) heroes.

Biography

Born on February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a family burdened with financial troubles. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age.

In 1824, young Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work at a boot-blacking factory when his improvident father, accompanied by his mother and siblings, was sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Once they were released, Charles attended a private school for three years. The young man then became a solicitor's clerk, mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. When he was in his early twenties, Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals.

It was the publication of Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) that catapulted the twenty-five-year-old author to national renown. Dickens wrote with unequaled speed and often worked on several novels at a time, publishing them first in monthly installments and then as books. His early novels Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), and A Christmas Carol (1843) solidified his enormous, ongoing popularity. As Dickens matured, his social criticism became increasingly biting, his humor dark, and his view of poverty darker still. David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific period.

In 1858 Dickens's twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public's favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health. Working feverishly to the last, Dickens collapsed and died on June 8, 1870, leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood uncompleted.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of David Copperfield.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles John Huffam Dickens (full name) "Boz" (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1812
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, England
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1870
    2. Place of Death:
      Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Table of Contents

A House to Let 1
Over the Way 3
The Manchester Marriage 15
Going into Society 44
Three Evenings in the House 57
Trottle's Report 71
Let at Last 85
Notes 95
Biographical note 97
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    A Dickens' book that I like !

    Good !

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    A great story. Loved how all the authors contributed. Some wonde

    A great story. Loved how all the authors contributed. Some wonderful writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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