Thursday, December 3, 2009

A manuscript

Here are a few of the pages from Charles Dickens' original manuscript for A Christmas Carol. Original manuscripts are fascinating. Seeing the penmanship, noting the revisions and stray markings offers us some insight into the mind of the writer. And today, thanks to the New York Times' little interactive exercise, Dickens' manuscript is helping me avoid the stack of papers on the table-- the stack containing my students' work, in all of it's Times New Roman, 12-point font, spell-checked glory. And if you're interested, here is another article about the manuscript and it's history at the Morgan Library and Museum. Meanwhile, I'm going to search and discover with what ease or difficulty Dickens' brain conversed with his hand to express this one:
"There are some upon this earth of yours," returned the Spirit, "who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all out kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us."