You probably know Charles Dickens as the author of holiday favourite “A Christmas Carol.” He was arguably one of the most influential English authors of the Victorian period, and retains that influence today. Other notable works of his include “The Adventures of Oliver Twist,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” and “Great Expectations.”
But did you know that Boz â€“ his pseudonym for a time â€“ was a big fan of collaborative writing? Itâ€™s true!
During his time editing a weekly magazine called Household Words, Dickens wrote collaboratively with numerous magazine contributors. In some cases, these stories included up to five or six authors! Sounds a little like our beloved Protagonize, right?
Well, the similarities donâ€™t end there!
Published weekly, Household Words was the perfect vehicle for serialized fiction. Dickensâ€™ novels were always serialized initially, published chapter by chapter, until the story was complete and a full volume could be released. This weekly or monthly publishing format allowed him to gauge the reactions of his readers, and Charles was known to change the plot and characters based on feedback received. Just like we do!
If you want to read one of his collaborative works, check out â€œA Haunted House,â€ published in 1859. It contains chapters by Dickens, Hesbah Stretton (a childrenâ€™s novelist), George Augustus Sala (a journalist), Wilkie Collins (a novelist and playwright), Elizabeth Gaskell (famous for her ghost stories), and Adelaide Anne Proctor (reputedly Queen Victoriaâ€™s favourite poet). You can download a free copy in ePub or Kindle format from the University of Adelaide, as well as read it in its entirety from the same site. Enjoy this example of Victorian collaborative writing!
Which authors would you jump at the chance to collaborate with if given the chance? Let us know in the comments!