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Sketches by Boz
Charles Dickens
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Sketches by Boz

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  673 ratings  ·  54 reviews
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into pri ...more
Nook, 0 pages
Published by Sheldon and Co. (first published 1836)
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I enjoyed these greatly, and they are ridiculously detailed descriptions of life and the city in a period we now suffer immense nostalgia for -- so it's nice to hear a humorous and highly critical counterpoint to the twee recreations of Victorian glory. In terms of the uselessness of politicians and the practices of parents and couples and aristocrats, indeed, surprisingly little has changed. I couldn't help feel though, that society has improved for the better now that a woman's options have ex ...more
My favorite quotation from the collection, because it withstands the test of time: "Perhaps the cast of our political pantomime never was richer than at this day. We are particularly strong in clowns."

This is a collection of Dickens' earliest writing in the form of short sketches and tales. Written in the 1830s, they focus on early 19th-century London and include depictions of both the impoverished (and the difficulties they face) and the newly prosperous middle class just beginning to take shap
Jan 25, 2009 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Andrew Ivers
Dickens has such a laudable knack for describing people and places as well as meditating so lucidly on society and culture. I've only read chunks of this book. Some of my thoughts below...

In Sketches by Boz, the meditations are intensified by the subtlety of storytelling. Also, Dickens suggests in these excerpts that the “speculations” afforded by the streets of London are identifiable by everyone. His meditations, although providing insightful and entertaining commentary on those less fortunate
Larry Chambers
[I wrote this review for in early 2002, shortly after reading Sketches by Boz for the first time.]

Sketches by Boz [Penguin Classics edition]

In bookstores and libraries, literary classics are a dime a dozen. There are so many different editions available of each that the problem becomes one not of finding a good read but of selecting the edition of it that’s right for you. Charles Dickens is perhaps the most popular of the past masters. All his books are enormously entertaining, whethe
SKETCHES BY BOZ. (1836). Charles Dickens. ***.
This was the first collection of Dickens published in book form. The pieces in it had been serialized for a couple of years before finally being collected. The pieces are divided into three major sections: 1) Our Parish – portraits of the occupants of a typical parish in England – the portraits not necessarily flattering; 2) Scenes – descriptions of places and landmarks in and around London, and; 3) Tales – short stories on a variety of subjects. Th
Todd Stockslager
Review title: Dickens' sketches of life and London
Part of the rating of "what a classic" I'm assigning to Boz goes to its place in the canon. Started before his famous novels, as newspaper columns that were his first published work, uncredited and unpaid at first, the sketches in original format, editing, rewriting, reordering, and republishing in volume format extended almost through Dickens' entire career. That they flashed so much talent so early (he wasn't unpaid and uncredited for long) is
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

“Escenas de la vida de Londres” por “Boz” de Charles Dickens. Lo cotidiano como expresión de grandeza literaria

La lectura de “Escenas de la vida de Londres por “Boz” de Charles Dickens me lleva a este post que escribí hace poco tiempo sobre el Dickens primerizo; bien podría haber aparecido en ese momento ya que, en esta recopilación de Abada Editores, nos encontramos veinticinco esbozos que puede ser la recopilación más completa traducida por
Richard Jalbert
At 733 pages at times I had to muscle my way through it. Interesting prospective on life in England in the early 1800's including being thrown in the slammer for owing money. Scary times.
‘Sketches by “Boz”: Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People’ was a collection of some of Dickens earliest work. Many of these pieces were published in newspapers and magazines before being published in book form in 1836. There were two series, the first being a two volume set in February of 1836, and the second as a single volume in December of 1836. Many of the earliest sketches were published without an author indicated, until he started using “Boz” as his pseudonym. This type of w ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in May 2001.

The young Charles Dickens became a published author (anonymously) when the first of the Sketches was printed; he went on to write two volumes of them, some of which overlapped with the early parts of The Pickwick Papers. The pieces all attempt to give a picture of life in London, which remained probably the most important theme in almost all of Dickens' writing. The central theme is elaborated in a surprisingly wide variety of ways, considering th
Marcia Lonteen-Martin
This is another great adventure in my year of Dickens. In this collection appear sketches and stories from various publications during 1836-1839. He begins by introducing the reader to people and places in London, Everyday Life and Everyday People. I loved his strategy of touring around the various places and describing the many people he sees as though he and the reader are in a group of individuals actually witnessing these experiences. He goes from the parish beadle, to the schoolmaster, to l ...more
Gláucia Renata
Hesitei antes de ler esse livro, por se tratar de crônicas jornalísticas escritas na década de 30 (1830). Imaginei que não me falariam nada por não ter conhecimento das pessoas e fatos da época, em Londres ainda. Mas os tipos e situações expostos são tão exatamente iguais aos nossos personagens atuais (artistas, políticos, intelectuais, religiosos, damas e cavalheiros da sociedade) que ao final só pude concluir uma coisa: o mundo não mudou nada!
I had read a number of these before but had never read Sketches by Boz in its entirety. Dickens first book, published when he was twenty-four and already on his third or fourth career, contains his earliest writings, ranging from semi-fictional sketches to a series of "tales" that range from farce to melodramatic tragedy. They contain much of what one would find throughout his career: walking through the streets of London, middle-class families, clerks, comedy, satire of pretension, tragedy, far ...more
Jan 29, 2008 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Dickens , students of Victorian culture
Recommended to Laura by: professor
I've only read about 14 of the stories or so (and for a class, no less), but the rest will have to wait until I have some more free time (!). That doesn't mean I wouldn't keep reading if I had the time, because Sketches by Boz is now vying with Oliver Twist for second place on my top books by Dickens list (nothing can replace A Christmas Carol for first!).

Written from a journalistic stance, "Boz's" sketches are reminiscent of early anthropological studies. Sure, Dickens can be demeaning, condes
Adele Jones
I really enjoyed this -- Dickens is very clever and observant and witty, and the pages rolled along. It even brought a tear to my eye at the section where he imagines the people who'd worn the clothes in a second-hand store. For my tastes, though, it was a bit too satirical and misanthropic. I wished there was something he had left alone, and it would have been a very heavy read if I'd tried to read it all in one sitting.
Susan B.
OK, we know these ere written for a magazine in serial form. We know he got paid by the word. But there's not a superfluous word anywhere in there. And we once again realize what a savage wit Dickens was in the guise of a wide-eyed innocent reporting on what he sees. In a few chosen words he makes us see the foolishness and stupidity of people, and yet if you were those people, you'd never know it, he's that clever in his descriptions. His social reformer tendencies also come out in these sketch ...more
I'm betting these are mostly consulted for historical purposes, rather than read for pleasure -- but if Dickens had never written anything else, the editors of the Norton Anthology of English Literature would probably have included one of these sketches; he'd be important enough to be remembered on the strength of these alone.

My favorite is "Meditations in Monmouth Street," in which he looks at the display windows of used-clothing stores and creates characters to go with the clothes: "There was
It's quite interesting to see where Dickens got his start, and it really contextualized his career for me. Unfortunately, while these sketches are often kinda entertaining, they're still sketches, which I find kinda dull.
Fanda Kutubuku
Sketches by Boz is the earliest works of Dickens, contains of skecthes of everyday life in London the 19th century. It can be categorized as literary journalism, although there are several fictional stories too. Dickens wrote from his own observations on people's characters, habits and cultures, as well as streets and amusement places. The sketches are thorough, and the illustrations by George Cruikshank sharpen them. It's quite interested, however reading 60 short stories can make you boring so ...more
This Dickens book is not nearly as well known as some of his other classics, but it is a good early example of his talent. It is a series of sketches of everyday life and short stories, all of which are either amusing, tragic or insightful. I recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed other Dickens books, as a way to become aware of his early talents and perhaps trace their development over time.
Patricia Fischer
This is a collection of the early works of Dickens, which originally appeared in a variety of serial publications. With satirical wit, it brings to life the people and places of pre-Victorian London and other areas of England. This isn't a book to read straight through, and it took me a long time to finish it, as I read it intermittently between other books.
I've got a set of Dickens that I've been carrying around for 30+ years and this year, on the 200th anniversary of his birth, it's now time to read his work in chronological order. The Sketches come first. Although I've read several of his novels before, I never realized what a sense of humor he had. A fun (although long) read.
Peter Galamaga
Collection of short stories - or "sketches" - about everyday life in London. They range from the very humorous to the tragic.
I experimented with using Libravox with this. On the plus side - a free, complete, audio copy of the book. On the down side, there was a HUGE difference in the quality of readers from chapter to chapter.
Helen Francini
Dickens in the process of honing his craft, before he became the great author. In a series of short stories and vignettes, the reader gets to see him practicing creating characters, describing scenes, and doing everything he does in the novels that followed, but without any main plot to connect it all.
Christopher Sutch
This is a collection of the newspaper columns that first made Dickens a celebrity in the 1830s. There's a lot of very interesting (and satirically funny) observations of London life at the times, as well as some first tentative tries a storytellling. Worth a read for people interested in the era.
I just couldn't finish this! No plot, no characters, no story to follow. These are literally sketches and I just couldn't get into them. I have loved everything I've read by Dickens, I love his flowery words and the flow of his novels but even his descriptions couldn't hold my attention!
Ian Warr
I have to admit I only read this because I want to read all of Dickens' books, but I actually really enjoyed it. Not so well known now, but this is actually the book that made him famous. Some of the stories are better than others, but at its best the quality of writing is top class.
Feb 07, 2015 Allison is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Some good stuff in this, but somehow, I'm finding it hard to get through. Not a "story" like everything else I've read, and deadly dull in some parts. I'll try to persevere, though, in the interest of being "thoroughly informed" about Dickens.
Mike Jensen
Dec 13, 2012 Mike Jensen marked it as books-abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Though superior to Thackeray’s dreary books of sketches, I found the first dozen of these only intermittently interesting and even fewer fun to read. Perhaps the genre is simply not to my taste. I bailed before finishing this book.
Joyce M. Tice
This is the one book remaining to me of Dickens that I have not previously read. While reading teh Ackroyd Biography of Dickens, I am trying to re-read [some of:] the novels I finished some thirty or more years ago. This one will be new.
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The Pickwick Club: Scenes, 10: The River 7 7 Feb 11, 2015 12:46AM  
The Pickwick Club: Scenes, 08: Doctors' Commons 9 9 Feb 04, 2015 04:00AM  
The Pickwick Club: Scenes, 06: Meditations in Monmouth-street 13 10 Feb 03, 2015 03:13PM  
The Pickwick Club: Scenes, 07: Hackney-coach stands 10 10 Feb 03, 2015 11:35AM  
The Pickwick Club: Background, resources, reading schedule 54 54 Feb 01, 2015 01:25PM  
The Pickwick Club: Scenes, 05: Seven Dials 10 10 May 05, 2014 12:35PM  
The Pickwick Club: Scenes, 02: The Streets - Night 6 11 May 03, 2014 04:32PM  
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A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
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“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused—in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened—by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes—of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world who cannot call up such thoughts any day of the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire—fill the glass and send round the song—and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it offhand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it’s no worse.” 9 likes
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