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The Pickwick Papers
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The Pickwick Papers > Reading Schedule, and Preliminary Remarks

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Tristram Shandy | 4640 comments Mod
Hello to everyone,

The year is not yet over and the last word on the Christmas story has probably not yet been written, but we would already like to submit our reading schedule for Pickwick Papers here to enable you to plan your own reading schedules for the first quarter or so of 2018. There was some discussion on including shorter Dickens pieces again, and this has not been forgotten but still we would like to start with Pickwick right away – for three reasons:

Firstly, the book is rather long and that is why we’d like to start early so as not to drag it on too far into the year because there should be a chance of reading at least one other major novel in 2018.

Secondly, between now and the end of this year, there will be no further book or story, which will give time for everyone to catch up with the group.

Thirdly, Pickwick Papers starts in a very picaresque way, i.e. with no real plot but rather as a series of individual sketches which are linked mainly by the appearance of Mr Pickwick, Mr Tupman, Mr Snodgrass and Mr Winkle. So in a way, in January we will be dealing with shorter sketches, anyway.

After finishing Pickwick then, we will focus on a couple of the Sketches by Boz, thus reverting to our good tradition of filling the time between major works with some shorter Dickens pieces.

Okay, here is the reading schedule:

04/01/2018 – 10/01/2018: I, 1-2
11/01/2018 – 17/01/2018: II, 3-5
18/01/2018 – 24/01/2018: III, 6-8
25/01/2018 – 31/01/2018: IV, 9-11
01/02/2018 – 07/02/2018: V, 12-14
08/02/2018 – 14/02/2018: VI, 15-17
15/02/2018 – 21/02/2018: VII, 18-20
22/02/2018 – 28/02/2018: VIII, 21-23
01/03/2018 – 07/03/2018: IX, 24-26
08/03/2018 – 14/02/2018: X, 27-29
15/03/2018 – 21/03/2018: XI, 30-32
22/03/2018 – 28/03/2018: XII, 33-34
29/03/2018 – 04/04/2018: XIII, 35-37
05/04/2018 – 11/04/2018: XIV, 38-40
12/04/2018 – 18/04/2018: XV, 41-43
19/04/2018 – 25/04/2018: XVI, 44-46
26/04/2018 – 02/05/2018: XVII, 47-49
03/05/2018 – 10/05/2018: XVIII, 50-52
11/05/2018 – 18/05/2018: XIX, 53-55 + XX, 56-57


As you can see, it is a very big enterprise but so was the appearance on the literary stage by one of the greatest writers of all time.

To all the new members, especially to those who have as yet been silent readers: Please feel invited to fall in with our reading schedule and share your ideas with us. You will see it is even greater fun to read Dickens and discuss his writings in a group. If you don’t believe me, just try it for a couple of weeks!


message 2: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 889 comments Yeah!

Haven't read Pickwick and looking forward to it.


Tristram Shandy | 4640 comments Mod
So am I! It's always been one of my favourite books.


Lagullande | 15 comments After several false starts with earlier reads (I still have Little Dorrit "in progress"), I'm hoping to stay on track with this one.


John (jdourg) | 1054 comments Very good. Have my Pickwick downloaded to my Nook and look forward to starting it,


message 6: by Kim (last edited Dec 21, 2017 08:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5957 comments Mod
Linda, where are you? I need you to translate Tristram's reading schedule again. I was confused for a few seconds wondering why he was making us read the first three chapters from April 1st to October 1st. :-)


message 7: by Linda (last edited Dec 22, 2017 12:55PM) (new) - added it

Linda | 363 comments Lol Kim! I did the same April to October double take. I will post “our” schedule tomorrow when I am able to find some computer time. I have been busy caulking and painting trim in our bathrooms (two days before company arrives, I don’t know what I was thinking) and trying to sew a stocking for my daughter which I decided should first involve lots of hand embroidery.

I’m midway through chapter two of Haunted Man and hope to get caught up with that by the time our reading of Pickwick Papers begins. Lots of audiobook listening while painting and sewing, but I’ve fallen behind in my in-print Dickens reading.


message 8: by Cordelia (new)

Cordelia (anne21) What are you guys going on about? It is obviously the 4th - 10th of January.


Tristram Shandy | 4640 comments Mod
Cordelia,

It's just a kind of friendly banter. Whenever I post the dates the correct way, our U.S. based members pretend not to understand it. I would really miss it if they stopped this ;-)


message 10: by Cordelia (last edited Dec 22, 2017 04:22AM) (new)

Cordelia (anne21) Yes. I did realize that they were just teasing you.

Though, I must admit that it is really nice to read the dates written in the correct order. Saves my brain having to do that mental calculation each time.


Mary Lou | 2451 comments Linda wrote: "I’m midway through chapter two of Haunted Man and hope to get caught up with that by the time our reading of Pickwick Papers begins.."

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one lagging behind. I'm about halfway through part 2 as well. I'm determined to finish the story and not give up, though at this rate it may be next Christmas before I get to the end!


message 12: by Kris (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris | 13 comments I got a jump on the reading for the coming year and have just recently completed 'The Pickwick Papers' but I'll be following along as I continue to read 'Death and Mr. Pickwick'.
I hope everyone enjoys Pickwick as much as I have!


Peter | 3199 comments Mod
Linda and Mary Lou

I hope you find the time to complete The Haunted Man. Candidly, it will never be another A Christmas Carol, but it does offer some good comparisons to ACC.


message 14: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5957 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Cordelia,

It's just a kind of friendly banter. Whenever I post the dates the correct way, our U.S. based members pretend not to understand it. I would really miss it if they stopped this ;-)"


I noticed you had made a mistake in your post so I'll correct it here:

It's just a kind of friendly banter. Whenever I post the dates the so very wrong way, our U.S. based members have no clue what it is. I would really miss it if they stopped this.


message 15: by Bionic Jean (last edited Dec 22, 2017 09:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Sorry all - have been ill and offline for over a fortnight. Have duly taken note of these correctly written (!) dates however :)

I have been reading The Haunted Man when I was able, and will comment in the right threads once I am more myself again.


Mary Lou | 2451 comments Jean wrote: "Sorry all - have been ill and offline for over a fortnight. Have duly take note of these correctly written (!) dates however :)

I have been reading The Haunted Man when I was able, ..."


Hope you're fully recovered, Jean! You, Linda, and I can have a belated discussion on The Haunted Man if we ever finish it. :-)


message 17: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay Korner | 9 comments what is the true page count for our next read?

I’m a Kindle kind of guy and at Amazon , The Pickwick Papers varies from 400+ pages to 800+ pages...


Gilbert Started Pickwick last month. Up to chapter 22. Will comment at appropriate times.


message 19: by Everyman (new) - added it

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Lindsay wrote: "what is the true page count for our next read?

."


Dickens published it in are 20 monthly installments. the first had 24 text pages and 4 illustrations; the rest had 32 pages and 2 illustrations. Those page counts are in the original magazines; every book will differ somewhat, but that gives you an idea, and you can do the math to get the total pages (and give Kim the answer since that's way too complicated a math problem for her). So basically each section we read will be 32 original magazine pages.


message 20: by Dianne (new) - added it

Dianne | 17 comments Thanks for explaining Everyman! With this schedule I think I would be able to join :)


message 21: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jdourg) | 1054 comments Happy Holidays to everyone. I've enjoyed being here in 2017 and I look forward to 2018 and to starting the year with Pickwick.


message 22: by Linda (last edited Dec 26, 2017 09:06AM) (new) - added it

Linda | 363 comments And here is the "correct" version of the dates for next read. ;)


The Pickwick Papers, 2018

01/04/2018 – 01/10/2018: I, 1-2
01/11/2018 – 01/17/2018: II, 3-5
01/18/2018 – 01/24/2018: III, 6-8
01/25/2018 – 01/31/2018: IV, 9-11
02/01/2018 – 02/07/2018: V, 12-14
02/08/2018 – 02/14/2018: VI, 15-17
02/15/2018 – 02/21/2018: VII, 18-20
02/22/2018 – 02/28/2018: VIII, 21-23
03/01/2018 – 03/07/2018: IX, 24-26
03/08/2018 – 02/14/2018: X, 27-29
03/15/2018 – 03/21/2018: XI, 30-32
03/22/2018 – 03/28/2018: XII, 33-34
03/29/2018 – 04/04/2018: XIII, 35-37
04/05/2018 – 04/11/2018: XIV, 38-40
04/12/2018 – 04/18/2018: XV, 41-43
04/19/2018 – 04/25/2018: XVI, 44-46
04/26/2018 – 05/02/2018: XVII, 47-49
05/03/2018 – 05/10/2018: XVIII, 50-52
05/11/2018 – 05/18/2018: XIX, 53-55 + XX, 56-57



The Pickwick Papers, 2018
First Volume Edition

01/04/2018 – 01/10/2018: I, 1-2
01/11/2018 – 01/17/2018: II, 3-5
01/18/2018 – 01/24/2018: III, 6-8
01/25/2018 – 01/31/2018: IV, 9-11
02/01/2018 – 02/07/2018: V, 12-14
02/08/2018 – 02/14/2018: VI, 15-17
02/15/2018 – 02/21/2018: VII, 18-20
02/22/2018 – 02/28/2018: VIII, 21-23
03/01/2018 – 03/07/2018: IX, 24-26
03/08/2018 – 02/14/2018: X, 27-28*
03/15/2018 – 03/21/2018: XI, 29-31
03/22/2018 – 03/28/2018: XII, 32-33
03/29/2018 – 04/04/2018: XIII, 34-36
04/05/2018 – 04/11/2018: XIV, 37-39
04/12/2018 – 04/18/2018: XV, 40-42
04/19/2018 – 04/25/2018: XVI, 43-45
04/26/2018 – 05/02/2018: XVII, 46-48
05/03/2018 – 05/10/2018: XVIII, 49-51
05/11/2018 – 05/18/2018: XIX, 52-54 + XX, 55-56


Lagullande | 15 comments I have this Penguin Classics version
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
but it only goes up to Chapter 56 !??


message 24: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda | 363 comments Mary Lou wrote: "You, Linda, and I can have a belated discussion on The Haunted Man if we ever finish it. :-) "

Peter wrote: "I hope you find the time to complete The Haunted Man."

Yes, I will finish it, just finding the time is difficult at the moment so it might have to wait until after Christmas. We have family coming up from Portland this afternoon and have been busily cleaning the house. Then tomorrow we have the rest of the clan coming for Christmas Eve festivities. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, but I'm already exhausted. lol. :)

Jean wrote: "Sorry all - have been ill and offline for over a fortnight. Have duly taken note of these correctly written (!) dates however :)"

I hope you are feeling better, Jean!


message 25: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5957 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "And here is the "correct" version of the dates for next read. ;)


The Pickwick Papers, 2018

01/04/2018 – 01/10/2018: I, 1-2
01/11/2018 – 01/17/2018: II, 3-5
01/18/2018 – 01/24/2018: III, 6-8
01/2..."


Yea! Finally! Something that makes sense. It's like an early Christmas present. :-)


Tristram Shandy | 4640 comments Mod
Lagullande wrote: "I have this Penguin Classics version
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
but it only goes up to Chapter 56 !??"


That is very strange. There are different chapter counts for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and in the course of our reading we also found out why. But I did not know there are different counts for Pickwick. We should keep this in mind; at the moment, I can't account for it.


Lagullande | 15 comments Tristram wrote: "Lagullande wrote: "I have this Penguin Classics version
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
but it only goes up to Chapter 56 !??"

That is very strange. There are different chapter counts for T..."


The last chapter (56 in my book) is In which the Pickwick Club is finally dissolved and everything concluded to the satisfaction of everybody. That sounds fairly final, so I wonder which is the missing one.


message 28: by John (last edited Dec 24, 2017 01:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jdourg) | 1054 comments My Pickwick is a Falcon Classics. It lists 57 chapters, with 57 titled as the dissolving of the Pickwick Club.


Lagullande | 15 comments Lagullande wrote: "...The last chapter (56 in my book) is In which the Pickwick Club is finally dissolved and everything concluded to the satisfaction of everybody. That sounds fairly final, so I wonder which is the missing one. "

Mystery solved! The offending chapter is The Story of the Goblins who Stole a Sexton. According to the Notes in my copy, printers compiling the table of contents for the first volume edition noticed that there were TWO chapter 28's. They marked the second one as 28* (asterisk).

In the 1847 version and onwards, the Goblin/Sexton story was relabelled as Chapter 29, and subsequent chapters were all renumbered.

So for me, and anyone else reading the first version, the reading schedule from Part X onwards will look like:

08/03/2018 – 14/02/2018: X, 27-28*
15/03/2018 – 21/03/2018: XI, 29-31
22/03/2018 – 28/03/2018: XII, 32-33
29/03/2018 – 04/04/2018: XIII, 34-36
05/04/2018 – 11/04/2018: XIV, 37-39
12/04/2018 – 18/04/2018: XV, 40-42
19/04/2018 – 25/04/2018: XVI, 43-45
26/04/2018 – 02/05/2018: XVII, 46-48
03/05/2018 – 10/05/2018: XVIII, 49-51
11/05/2018 – 18/05/2018: XIX, 52-54 + XX, 55-56


message 30: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jdourg) | 1054 comments I saw a comment Dickens made with regard to Pickwick. He said if he should write three novels a year for 100 years, he doubted any of them would top Pickwick.

I was not aware that he held Pickwick in such high regard.


message 31: by Everyman (new) - added it

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
John wrote: "I saw a comment Dickens made with regard to Pickwick. He said if he should write three novels a year for 100 years, he doubted any of them would top Pickwick.

I was not aware that he held Pickwick..."


I must say that I disagree with him. But if he's talking about humor, he's right; it's the only funny novel he ever wrote.


message 32: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jdourg) | 1054 comments Everyman wrote: "John wrote: "I saw a comment Dickens made with regard to Pickwick. He said if he should write three novels a year for 100 years, he doubted any of them would top Pickwick.

I was not aware that he ..."


I wish I could find some context or perhaps the background to that quote of his. I saw it, but where I saw it really offered nothing as to why he thought that way about Pickwick.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 149 comments I'm afraid that I didn't get very far with 'The Haunted Man'. For some reason the language was swooping around me and dive bombing
me, so that I couldn't quite catch hold of it. I am so looking forward to Pickwick, though. I remember almost nothing about it apart from my skulking off by myself to snatch a few pages. I ended with tears of merriment rolling down my cheeks and vibrating shoulders - quite the giveaway! So here's hoping that I can put my hand on my copy! 😀


Peter | 3199 comments Mod
Hilary wrote: "I'm afraid that I didn't get very far with 'The Haunted Man'. For some reason the language was swooping around me and dive bombing
me, so that I couldn't quite catch hold of it. I am so looking for..."


Hi Hilary

Yes. The Haunted Man was a puzzler at times. Perhaps we have all been spoiled with ACC.

I’m looking forward to PP. Lots of joy and merriment for our first read of 2018. I look forward to reading it with you.


message 35: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda | 363 comments Lagullande wrote: "So for me, and anyone else reading the first version, the reading schedule from Part X onwards will look like:"

Thank you, Lagullande! I also have that Penguin edition. I edited my message 21 to add the first edition chapters.


message 36: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda | 363 comments Hilary wrote: "I'm afraid that I didn't get very far with 'The Haunted Man'. For some reason the language was swooping around me and dive bombing me, so that I couldn't quite catch hold of it. I am so looking for..."

I'm finding the same thing in regards to the language, Hilary. I didn't make it very far in my attempt to finish the story last night before I fell asleep, probably a combination of it being a long week and also the concentration that was needed to understand what what going on. I will resume my attempt today, though.


Lagullande | 15 comments Linda wrote: :Thank you, Lagullande! I also have that Penguin edition. I edited..."

Great. I'm glad I'm not the only odd one...although at least I'll be reading it on the correct dates ;-)


Mary Lou | 2451 comments Hilary wrote: "For some reason the language was swooping around me and dive bombing me, so that I couldn't quite catch hold of it...."

What a perfect way to put it. I've had the same experience. I thought it was just because of personal stress and that my brain is mush right now (and I can't discount that as a contributing factor!), but it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one struggling. Still, I'm into part 3 now, and there's light at the end of the tunnel. I'm sure the group's discussion will help to illuminate things a bit.

Pickwick will be a refreshing change!


Peter | 3199 comments Mod
Hilary, Mary Lou, and Linda

Hang in there. Take a deep breath, enjoy a shortbread cookie and hopefully you will be able to complete The Haunted Man.

It was an interesting activity to write the commentary for the book. I kept wanting it to at least read more like ACC if not be as good as ACC.

Oh well. In a few short pages you all will be finished and able to tell friends, neighbours and colleagues that you have read all five of the Christmas books. Then, quickly change the topic of conversation before anyone asks you what it was like. I find that worked as a strategy for me. :-))


message 40: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jdourg) | 1054 comments Harold Bloom, a critic I admire, has said his favorite book to read is Pickwick.

And he may not have just been referring to his favorite Dickens, but of all works. Hard to know, though I suspect Hamlet is his favorite of all.


message 41: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5957 comments Mod
Lagullande wrote: "Linda wrote: :Thank you, Lagullande! I also have that Penguin edition. I edited..."

Great. I'm glad I'm not the only odd one...although at least I'll be reading it on the correct dates ;-)"


I have the same version. Thank you both for sorting it out.


Milena | 114 comments Kim wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Cordelia,

It's just a kind of friendly banter. Whenever I post the dates the correct way, our U.S. based members pretend not to understand it. I would really miss it if they stopp..."


Hey, I see a date-contest here. I’m in the day/month team, ready to play. :)
Anyway, thank you Tristram and Linda for the reading schedule.
I’m looking forward to reading Pickwick. I downloaded MED and THM from the Gutenberg site, but I want an annotated edition of Pickwick. I see that most of you have the Penguin edition. I think I’m going to get that one too.


Débora Paias | 37 comments Hello everyone! I'm sorry for my little disappearance. The end of the year was pretty busy for me, so I couldn't elaborate any good theories about the ending of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Things are calmer now and I'm excited to read Pickwick with you all in January. I read this book before, but I don't remember a lot of it, so I think I will enjoy the rereading very much! :) Probably I'll read Pickwick in my brazilian copy, which will make easier for me to catch up with the schedule, but if I feel I'm missing a lot of Dickens humour I'll return to the english edition.


Peter | 3199 comments Mod
Olá Débora

The holiday season does keep us busy. It is perfect timing to begin our reading Of Dickens as the new year begins with his first novel and great that we have a member from South America. I hope Dickens will be enjoyable in either language you read him during the coming months.


Débora Paias | 37 comments Peter wrote: "Olá Débora

The holiday season does keep us busy. It is perfect timing to begin our reading Of Dickens as the new year begins with his first novel and great that we have a member from South Americ..."


Thanks, Peter! It's great to be here!


message 46: by Milena (last edited Dec 28, 2017 11:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Milena | 114 comments Hello Débora, I'm glad to see you back. I'm always in two minds whether to read Dickens in his original language or in Italian. Like you, I think: should I read it in Italian so as to keep up easily with the schedule, or should I read it in English so as not to miss anything of Dickens's humour and all that?
So far, I've ended up keeping the English version in my hands, and the dictionary (mobile phone) and the Italian copy at my side like a life-jacket.


message 47: by Kris (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris | 13 comments You may like this site of all things Pickwickian on FB...

https://www.facebook.com/deathandmrpi...

It is by Stephen Jarvis, the author of 'Death and Mr. Pickwick', which I am currently reading.


message 48: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5957 comments Mod
I looked a little further trying to find out why there were two number 28 chapters, in some versions (like mine), something I never would have noticed until we got there and my fellow moderators would have confused me by going one chapter ahead of me. The reason the introduction in my book gives is this:

The very openness with which the first volume edition confronts such inconsistencies, dramatizing and making a virtue of Dickens's own acknowledged distance from its numbers, is one positive reason why I have adopted it as copy-text for the present edition. There are other reasons, equally material. Dickens supervised three more editions of The Pickwick Papers, the Cheap edition of 1847, the Library edition of 1858, and the Charles Dickens edition of 1867. In 1847 he wrote a new Preface, and substantially rewrote it in 1867; in these editions, he and his publishers introduced a total of more than a thousand revisions, corrections and new errors that do much to alter the text, and to obscure the spirit of potentially anarchic extravagance. The changes fit the following categories. Dickens modified or deleted references to events that had lost their topicality or their charge for him in some other way (such as Jingle's reference to the July Revolution in Chapter 2 and the narrator's aside in Chapter 11 about the unflattering portrait of Sir John Soane, destroyed by Soane's friend and subsequently Sam Weller's champion William Jerdan). He softened all grammatical idiosyncrasies ("seed the ghost" became "see the ghost"). He removed or replaced other characters' oaths (so Lord Mutanhed's "'cwucify me" is moderated to" confound me") and those of the narrative's own colloquialisms and vivid details of blood or gore which he came to regard as opaque or offensive (Jack Bamber originally describes the tenant's discovery of his predecessor in lingering terms, "his face livid with the hue of a painful death"; its replacement in 1847, "his face - well!", is a timid retreat). The language of the narrative lost some of its color too, and with it its first gleeful intimacy with the codes it lampooned; Mrs. Leo Hunter's "fancy-dress 'dejeune'" is more fittingly pretentious than the "breakfast" it became. More generally, Dickens slowed the pace of the narrative and formalized its expression. Frequently he replaced "just when" with "when", so muting what he evidently came to consider melodramatic tendencies of the story's timing; he also deleted several dozen 'ands', either where they opened sentences or followed semi-colons.

As a result of these changes, The Pickwick Papers of 1847, and still more so of 1867, is a more prosaic, more deliberate, less excited and therefore less exciting book than the edition used here. The first volume edition delights in its inconsistencies, and enjoys them; the 1847 and 1867 editions have forgotten the momentary but convincing rationale for them, and attempted a duller orthodoxy in their place. The most egregious example of this occurs exactly half-way through the work. 1847, 1867 and every edition since have assumed that the chapter containing "The Story of the Goblins who stole a Sexton" should be numbered 29, and that its numeration in the 1836-7 serial publication as a second Chapter 28, and again in the first volume edition, was simply an oversight. Context and precedent suggest that it was, instead, a self-conscious structural joke; I have accordingly allowed the earlier and richer version to stand.

In December 1836 he was nearing the halfway mark of Pickwick's projected twenty numbers. After its early uncertainties, he had a huge popular success on his hands, this enabled Dickens to bask in the familiarity he had now achieved with his readers. He could afford to be as beguiled as they were by the tales he was retailing.

The periodical and first volume editions add a further teasing twist to this conceit, and turn Boz's solemn declaration into a sly structural joke; the text delivers another Chapter 28. Editorial heart - or worthy eye for consistency and proportion - has yielded to the flourish of the theatrical impresario, able to stop the march of time with his own entertainments.


And saying all that, I am fine with making Chapter 28 the second into Chapter 29, just remind me when we get there. :-)


Tristram Shandy | 4640 comments Mod
Kim, it's very interesting to see how a text one generally thinks of as fixed actually changed. I am afraid my Penguin edition is based on the - according to the commentary - "tamer" edition of 1867.


message 50: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jdourg) | 1054 comments Well, today is January 1 and it is currently 6 degrees here in New Jersey.

I will join the Pickwick Club today and continue on with the hope of warmth in the days ahead.


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