Charles Dickens on Criticism

“ … one of the reviewers [of Dickens’ books] suggested that ‘it does not appear certain to us that his books will live …’.  But what did Dickens make of such criticism?  A few weeks later he was walking with Hans Christian Andersen, who had been hurt by the reviews of his latest book (in fact he had been found lying face down, in tears, on the lawn of Gad’s Hill place).  ‘Never allow yourself to be upset by the papers,” he told Andersen, ‘they are forgotten in a week, and your book stands and lives.’  They were walking in the road, and Dickens wrote with his foot in the dirt.  ‘That is criticism,” he said.  Then he wiped the marks with his foot.  ‘Thus it is gone.’”

(From Peter Ackroyd’s Dickens, pp. 779-780)

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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