The greatest collection of short stories, articles and notes by Charles Dickens. Download The Uncommercial Traveller, READ online FREE or buy:
Charles Dickens started his magnificent career with tales and short stories, but this fine collection was written many years later when he was already a world-esteemed author. In 1859, Dickens single-handedly created his famous journal – AYR – and the articles/tales/notes from this collection were published there on a periodical basis.
It’s no secret that the master was a big fan of traveling, and not only to enjoy the trip with his family and do some sightseeing. He was born to be a writer, and, even on his time off, he did a lot of research and worked on his meticulous reports.
He had been to the United States and several European countries/cities. Even when he was of old age, Dickens still found pleasure in traveling all over England to find inspiration and to report on what was really going on in the streets.
The Ever-Vigilant Insomniac
Dickens had problems with sleeping and was a known insomniac. That is why he was a big fan of walking around in the capital when the sun came down. His sleepy adventures gave him an incredible “pass” into the shady corners of the city and tons of inspiration for his new novels and stories.
He called himself an overzealous explorer and an honest investigator, and in the introduction to this collection, he described himself in quite a peculiar manner. He claimed that he wasn’t of royal blood and never had any privileges in life. But, he did have enough money to travel within the United Kingdom and all over the world.
At first, Dickens wrote 17 solid episodes that were published in his journal in 1860 (during the January-October period). Then, a year later, he got them all together and printed a complete book. Over the next four years (during the 63-65 period, to be exact), he wrote 11 additional chapters/stories. The enhanced and expanded edition saw the light of day in ’66.
Perfecting And Expanding The Collection For Years
Later, he added more sketches to the original collection but never got to release the complete edition (his publisher did it after the writer’s death). Just like Dickens’s original Sketches, or the articles he published elsewhere, these writings featured his unique style and demonstrated his never-fading wits, sense of humor and passionate heart.
The man’s outrage towards the injustice he saw during his travels was always righteous and the readers never had a reason to doubt his true intentions. He was a rebel, a freedom fighter, and used his brilliance as a writer for the greater good.
Real-World Stories And Reports
Some of these notes are pure reportage, and they are, in all fairness, the most boring parts of the collection. On the other hand, the creative, bold and brisk descriptions of the daily routine in London are the real deal.
In ’59, the famed writer visited Anglesey to report back on the wreck of one the finest ships in the Royal Navy. It was destroyed by the storm and the rocks on the shore. The storm was so strong that it took away numerous ships and was dubbed by the media as the scary and unforgiving Royal Storm.
In total, more than 450 folks died on that ship. The writer talked to a man from a local church whose efforts in finding and caring for the dead people led to his own passing. Dickens did a fantastic job of describing the devastating force of the storm.
Overall, he wrote about strange, ridiculous, bad, good, and angelic characters, presenting his readers with a wide array of personalities and letting them pick the winners and the losers. And, as always, he was deeply concerned with the barbaric conditions of the poor folks.
Different Characters, Different Events, Different Stories
There are some autobiographical elements that will be of particular interest to the true fans of the writer. He shared his memories of the childhood days and the town he grew up in. In one of the stories, he revealed the true nature of his love for ghost stories.
As it turns out, his nurse favored scary stories and used to read them to him back when he was a young man. Yes, she had a big influence on his literary tastes and helped him fall in love with it. If not for her, Dickens could grow into a completely different writer with a different mindset.
The Uncommercial Traveller is quite an entertaining book and comes with Dickens’s trademark writing, awesome observations, and that laid-back atmosphere that allows you to dive into the story the second you start reading it. Of all the collections of short stories/articles, this one is definitely the most mature one.
It’s got a little bit of everything, including personal memories, social satire, outrage towards the horrors of the life in London, the beauty of compassion, and many reports on real events that took place when Dickens was working on the every single story.