"By presenting these little-known Dickens sketches in the company of the work that preceded and partially inspired them, Paul Schlicke recovers their contemporary literary milieu and allows us to see them as more than mere harbingers of future greatness. It would be difficult to find a better qualified editor for this work." Review 19
"The young Dickens at his most playful, writing anonymously and slyly observant of the manners and morals of the 1830s, when he was himself a young gentleman and one member of a young couple. Paul Schlicke's delightful edition includes the original Phiz illustrations." Claire Tomalin, author of Charles Dickens: A Life
"So little known they qualify as 'new Dickens,' and as hugely enjoyable socio-comic writing from his most exuberant phase. Paul Schlicke is to be thanked for bringing them to our attention in his handsomely embellished volume." John Sutherland, author of How Literature Works
"I've loved reading the Sketches - a delicious and illuminating part of the vast hidden forest of unknown Dickens, enchanting and surprising, and beautifully introduced by Dr Schlicke." Simon Callow
"A taxonomy of archetypes that is at once amusingly outdated and surprisingly timely. Though its blend of humor and astute cultural observation captures a bygone era beautifully, its tease-points could easily apply to today's crop of hipsters, techies, and other social performative roles we all don." Brain Pickings
"Interesting and fun to read. This inexpensive volume will lead many readers to a slightly more detailed picture of Dickens's earliest years as a writer." Dickens Quarterly
"An especially welcome addition to the list of this year's dickens publications." Recent Studies in the Nineteenth Century
While The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist were overlapping each other in serial publication, the book Sketches of Young Gentlemen (1838) came out, followed later by Sketches of Young Couples (1840). Dickens's authorship was only revealed after his death. They were commissioned by publishers Chapman and Hall to follow the success of Sketches of Young Ladies, by Quiz (a less-gifted author named Edward Caswall). Since Caswall's collection began it all, it is included here. The Dickens sketches, averaging about five pages in length, are fun to read on their own terms and renew our appreciation of the sketch form by which Dickens moved so inimitably from nonfiction to fiction, and they still resonate today (e.g., "The Political Young Gentleman," who "will declaim by the hour…not that he has any particular information on the subject," and "The Couple who Dote upon their Children," who "recognize no dates but those connected with their births, accidents, illnesses, or remarkable deeds"). VERDICT Recommended to lovers of early Dickens and Dickens completists.